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Ella Smith Elbert f 88 

in meraoriaxn 
Katharine E. Coman 

S. G. & E. L. ELBERT 














:> f PAGE 

Introduction 5 

Africa as known to the Ancients ... 11 
Ancient Egypt . . . * . . .21 

Antiquities of Egypt 51 

The French in Egypt . . . . . .94 

Mehemet Ali . . 107 

The Carthaginians 113 

The Barbary States 127 

Madeira . 155 

Discoveries of the Portuguese in Africa . 163 

Vasco de Gama 170 

Timbuctoo 187 

Sierra Leone 200 

Mungo Park's Travels. — First Journey . . 210 

Mungo Park's Travels. — Second Journey . . 226 

- Riley's Adventures 236 

Bornou 250 


Travels of Clapperton and Lander 
The Slave-trade .... 

The Ashantees 

Southern Africa .... 


The Abyssinians .... 





Africa, in its geography and history, is marked 
with wonders. Some portions of it were among the 
first to be explored and occupied by man, while others 
long remained untraversed, and some continue to the 
present day to be marked on the map as unknown 
regions. In the early ages, it was the seat and cen- 



tre of learning and science, while the mass of its in- 
habitants have ever been shrouded in intellectual and 
moral darkness. Africa presents the most remarkable 
contrasts of fertility and desolation, — the valley of the 
Nile, and the mighty wastes of Sahara. In its zoology, 
it not only affords the ostrich, the lion, the tiger, the 
elephant, and the rhinoceros, — animals common to the 
adjacent regions of Asia, — but the giraffe and the hippo- 
potamus, which are peculiar to this quarter of the globe. 
In surveying its civil and social condition, we see the 
negroes, a weak and harmless race, made the prey of 
the Arab, the most despotic and remorseless of the 
human family. The lion, the leopard, and the panther, 
feasting upon the vast herds of antelopes that graze 
over the central wastes of Africa, afford a striking 
analogy to the state of human society ; the weak, the 
timid, and the defenceless being made, without mercy 
or scruple, the prey of the daring and the strong. 

Africa is a vast peninsula, attached to the eastern 
continent by the narrow isthmus of Suez. It is situ- 
ated between 34° south, and 37° 30' north latitude. 
Its length is 4,320 miles, and its utmost width 4,140. 
Its shape is triangular, and bears a resemblance to an 
irregular pyramid, of which the Barbary States form 
the base, and the Cape of Good Hope the apex. Its 
extent is about 12,000,000 square miles, and its popu- 
lation about 60,000,000. 

The prevailing aspect of Africa is rude, gloomy, 
and sterile. It may be considered as, in all respects, 
the least favored quarter of the globe. The character of 
desert, which is elsewhere only partial and occasional, 
belongs to a large portion of its widely extended sur- 



face. Boundless plains, exposed to the vertical rays 
of a tropical sun, are deprived of all the moisture ne- 
cessary to cover them with vegetation. Moving sands, 
tossed by the winds, and whirling in eddies, surround 
and threaten to bury the traveller, in his lengthened 
route over these trackless deserts. The best known 
and the most fertile portion is that which Borders the 
Mediterranean on the north. 

That part of Africa, however, which will most at- 
tract the attention of the reader, is Egypt. The re- 
cent discoveries in that country have startled this age 
of wonders, as if a new revelation had been vouchsafed 
to man. We are told that when the French philoso- 
phers, who accompanied Bonaparte in his expedition, 
stood amid the ruins of Thebes, they looked up to 
the gigantic monuments covered with hieroglyphics, 
and said, " Could we decipher these, we would prove 
the Bible to be a fable." The key to these mysterious 
writings has been found, and the infidel boast has been 
confounded by the discovery that they afford the most 
remarkable confirmations of the truth of holy writ. 
Thus, while the science of geology, once looked upon 
with fear, as threatening to overturn the Mosaic history 
of the beginning of the world, has yielded its testimony 
to the veracity of the inspired volume, and taught us 
to read the story of our globe in the mountain and 
valley, in the rock and the sand-heap ; the tombs of 
Egypt, buried in oblivion for thousands of years, have 
found a voice, and, in revealing to us the lost lore of 
antiquity, have added their testimony to the veracity of 
the Bible. If the generation of the Pharaohs could now 
rise from the dead, we could not better be told the way 



in which they lived, thought, and felt. It is, indeed, 
wonderful, that knowledge, hidden from mankind for 
three or four thousand years, should thus come to light, 
and that we should be more intimately acquainted with 
the domestic life of the remote Egyptians than we are 
with that of the people of England four centuries ago. 

It is not the least wonderful part of this story, that 
we are unacquainted with the motives of the ancient 
Egyptians for thus recording their every-day thoughts 
and familiar customs. We know, indeed, that there is 
an instinct in the human bosom which has taught man, 
in all ages, to cherish the memory of the past. In the 
earliest periods of history, while yet the arts were in 
their infancy, we see mankind seeking to perpetuate 
the remembrance of great events by mounds of earth 
and stone. As civilization advanced, the sculptured 
obelisk, the chiselled column, the enduring pyramid, 
rose as mementoes of the deeds of heroes, and the 
achievements of nations. The old world, and even 
the new, are scattered over with the vestiges of these 
monuments, which remain as living witnesses to the 
fact, that man is ever the same, — ever yearning to 
give immortality to his deeds, his thoughts, and his 

Nor is this voice of the past, appealing to the fu- 
ture, without an echo in the heart. If we, the living 
and breathing generation of to-day, stand in the pres- 
ence of some monument of antiquity designed to speak 
to after-generations and tell them of some catastrophe 
in the world's great drama, — how readily does the 
imagination seek to realize the event! how instinctively 
does a feeling of reverence creep over us, as if we 



stood in the real presence of the seers and sages of an- 
tiquity, risen from their graves, and speaking to us 
with living power ! 

If we stand at the foot of that humble and inade- 
quate structure at Lexington, which commemorates the 
opening scene of our Revolution, how distinctly do the 
events of the 19th of April, 1775, rise to view, and 
how irresistibly is the heart made to sympathize in 
the stirring actions of that day ! If we stand before 
that sublime shaft which rises on Bunker Hill, we may 
linger a moment to admire its chaste proportions, and 
to gaze with poetic emotion upon its top, seeming to 
mingle with the calm heaven above ; but how soon 
does the heart yield to a deeper sentiment ! This mon- 
ument is, indeed, a proud memorial of art, but it is 
something more ; it speaks in the voice of another age, 
and the bosom responds to the call. Deep answereth 
unto deep. Here Putnam and Prescott fought, — here 
Warren fell ! What emotion, in gazing at the mere 
obelisk, can equal that deep, solemn, sublime sympathy, 
which is evoked from the depths of the mighty past ! 

It is thus, by a mysterious and subtile thread, that the 
past, the present, and the future are woven together by 
a profound sentiment in the human heart. It is to the 
operation of this that we are indebted for the remains 
of antiquity found in Egypt. Even the pyramids of 
that country, cold, stern, and passionless as they are, 
still speak to after-generations, and tell us that their 
builders, sepulchred in their gloomy vaults, shrunk, 
like ourselves, from forgetfulness, and yearned, even 
in death, to live. To a similar feeling, elevated and 
expanded by religion, we are to attribute the origin of 



the obelisks, temples, and tombs, which were destined 
to outlive their builders, and which, though in ruins, 
excite the ceaseless admiration of mankind. 

It is doubtless to the same source that we are to trace 
the paintings in the sepulchres, which set forth the 
domestic manners and customs of the ancient Egyp- 
tians ; but some link in the chain is lost, which is 
necessary to connect these curious and interesting relics 
with their precise design. Why should the tombs of 
the dead be decorated with representations of the fa- 
miliar occupations, thoughts, and feelings of the living ? 
We cannot answer ; but we may believe, that, while 
they fulfilled the dictates of that great impulse of the 
human heart which begets a desire to exist beyond the 
grave, an overruling Providence designed them to be, as 
they have at last become, one of the great instruments 
of fortifying the evidence of the truth of divine rev- 


The desert which separated Egypt from Libya, for 
a long time presented an effectual barrier against dis- 
covery from the east, while the fine regions of Syria 
and Egypt were easily traversed by the Greeks. 
Egypt, having been discovered by Asiatic adventurers, 
was, in defiance of the clearest geographical outlines, 
long considered as a part of Asia. Even in the time 
of Strabo, the Nile was generally viewed as the boun- 
dary of the two continents ; nor is it till the era of 
Ptolemy, that we find the natural limits properly fixed 
at the Red Sea and the Isthmus of Suez. 

As the discoveries proceeded along the regions of 
Western Africa, objects presented themselves which 
acted powerfully on the exalted and poetical imagina- 
tion of the ancients. They were particularly struck 
by those oases, or verdant islands, which reared their 
bosoms amid the sandy desert. Here, perhaps, were 
drawn those brilliant pictures of the Hesperian Gardens, 
the Fortunate Islands, the Islands of the Blest, which 
are. painted in such glowing colors, and form the gay- 
est part of ancient mythology. There arises involun- 
tarily, in the heart of man, a longing after forms of 



being, fairer and happier than any presented by the 
world before him, — bright scenes, which he seeks 
and never finds in the circuit of real existence. But 
imagination easily creates them in that dim boundary 
which separates the known from the unknown world. 
In the first discoverers of any such region, novelty 
usually produces an exalted state of the imagination and 
passions, under the influence of which even- object is 
painted in higher colors than those of nature. Nor 
does the illusion cease, when a more complete exam- 
ination proves, that, in the spots to which they are as- 
signed, no such beings or objects exist. The human 
heart clings tenaciously to its fond chimeras ; it quickly 
transfers them to the yet unknown region beyond, and, 
when driven thence, discovers still another, more re- 
mote, in which they can take refuge. Thus we find 
these fain- regions retreating before the progress of 
discovery, yet finding still, in the farthest advance 
which ancient knowledge ever made, some remoter 
extremity to which they could fly. 

The first position of the Hesperian Gardens appears 
to have been at the western extremity of Libya, then 
the farthest boundary upon that side of ancient geo- 
graphical knowledge. The spectacle which it often 
presented, that of a circuit of blooming verdure amid 
the desert, was calculated to make a powerful im- 
pression on Grecian fancy, and to suggest the idea of 
a terrestrial paradise. As the first oasis became fre- 
quented, it was soon stripped of its fabled beauty ; 
another place was found for it ; and every traveller, 
as he discovered a new portion of that fertile and 
beautiful coast, fondly imagined that he had at length 


arrived at the long sought- for Islands of the Blest. At 
length, when the continent had been explored in vain, 
they were transferred to the ocean beyond, which the 
original idea of islands rendered an easy step. The 
Canaries, having never been passed, nor even ex- 
plored, continued always to be called the Fortunate 
Islands, not from any peculiar felicity of soil and cli- 
mate which they actually possessed, but merely be- 
cause distance and imperfect knowledge left full scope 
to poetical fancy. Hence we find Horace painting 
their felicity in the most glowing colors, and viewing 
thern as a refuge, still left for mortals, from that 
troubled and imperfect enjoyment which they were 
doomed to experience in every other portion of the 

The extent of the unknown territory of Africa, the 
peculiar aspect of man and nature in that region, and 
the uncertainty as to its form and termination, drew 
towards it, in a particular degree, the attention of the 
ancient world. All the expeditions of discovery on 
record, with scarcely any exceptions save those of 
Nearchus and Pythias, had Africa for their object 
They were undertaken with an anxious wish, first, to 
explore the extent of its two unknown coasts, on the 
Mediterranean and the Red Sea, and next, to penetrate 
into the depth of that mysterious world in the interior, 
which, guarded by the most awful barriers of na- 
ture, inclosed, as with a wall, the fine and fertile regions 
of Northern Africa. At a very early period, extra- 
ordinary efforts appear to have been made to effect 
the circumnavigation of Africa. The first attempt is 
that recorded by Herodotus, as having been undertaken 


by order of Necho, King of Egypt. The narrative re- 
lates, that certain Phoenician navigators, employed by 
that enterprising monarch, sailed from the Red Sea 
into the Indian Ocean. They continued to proceed 
along the coast of Africa till their provisions were ex- 
hausted. They then landed, sowed a crop, waited till 
the harvest was gathered in, and with this new supply 
continued their voyage. In this manner they spent 
two years and part of a third, passed round the south- 
ern extremity of the continent, arrived at the Pillars 
of Hercules, and sailed up the Mediterranean to Egypt. 
They relate, that, in passing round the Cape of Good 
Hope, they had the sun on their right hand, that is, to 
the north, a thing never heard of before, and which 
Herodotus refuses to believe, but which, to us, who 
know that such must have been its position, affords the 
strongest presumption in favor of the truth of the story. 
The event, indeed, has received no notice from many 
of the most learned writers in subsequent times ; but 
ancient knowledge was of so imperfect and transitory 
a nature, that it would be easy to cite instances of im- 
portant facts, recorded in the writings of the best au- 
thors, having been lost to the world during a long suc- 
cession of ages. 

The memory of this voyage probably gave rise to 
another, which is also recorded by Herodotus. Satas- 
pes, a Persian nobleman, having committed an act of 
violence, was condemned by Xerxes to be crucified. 
One of his friends persuaded the monarch to commute 
the sentence into that of a voyage round Africa, which 
was represented as a still severer punishment. Satas- 
pes, accordingly, having procured a vessel and mari- 


ners in the ports of Egypt, departed on this formidable 
expedition. He passed the Pillars of Hercules, and 
sailed along the coast for several days, proceeding, 
probably, as far as the desert. The view of those 
frightful and desolate shores, and of the immense 
ocean which dashed against them, might well intimi- 
date a navigator bred in the luxurious indolence of a 
Persian court. He was seized with a panic and turned 
back. Xerxes ordered him to be put to death, but he 
made his escape to the island of Samos. 

The next attempt was made by a private individual, 
Eudoxus, a native of Cyzicus, who prosecuted his first 
voyage of discovery under the patronage of Ptolemy 
Euergetes. He explored a part of the eastern coast 
of Africa, and carried on some trade with the natives. 
A desire to circumnavigate the whole continent seems 
here to have seized him, and to have become his ruling 
passion. He found on this coast, part of a wreck, 
which was said to have come from the west, and 
which consisted merely of the point of a prow, on 
which a horse was carved. This being carried to Alex- 
andria, and shown to some natives of Cadiz, was pro- 
nounced by them to be very similar to those attached 
to a particular sort of fishing vessels which frequented 
the coast of Mauritania; and they added, that some 
of these vessels had actually gone to the west, »and 
never returned. All doubt of the possibility of accom- 
plishing his purpose now seemed to be at an end, and 
Eudoxus thought only of carrying this grand under- 
taking into effect. Conceiving himself slighted by 
Cleopatra, who had now succeeded Euergetes, he de- 
termined no longer to rely on the patronage of courts, 


but repaired to Cadiz, then a great commercial city, 
where the prospect of a new and unobstructed route to 
India could not fail to excite the highest interest. 

On his way from Alexandria, he touched at Mar- 
seilles and a number of other ports, where he publicly 
announced his intention, and invited all who were ani- 
mated by a spirit of enterprise to take a share in its 
execution. He accordingly succeeded in fitting out an 
expedition on a large scale. He had three vessels, on 
board of which were embarked, not only provisions 
and merchandise, but medical men, persons skilled in 
various arts, and even a large band of musicians. His 
crew consisted chiefly of volunteers, who, being doubt- 
less full of extravagant hopes, were not likely to sub- 
mit to regular discipline, or to endure cheerfully the 
hardships of such a voyage. They soon became fa- 
tigued with the navigation in the open sea, and insisted 
on keeping nearer to the coast. Eudoxus was obliged 
to comply, but soon an event happened which that ex- 
perienced navigator had foreseen. The ships ran upon 
a shoal and could not be got off. The cargo and part 
of the timber from them were carried to the shore, 
and from their materials a small vessel was construct- 
ed, with which Eudoxus continued his voyage. He 
speedily came to nations speaking, as he fancied, the 
same language with those he had seen on the eastern 
coast ; but he found his vessel too small to proceed any 
further. He therefore returned and equipped a new 
expedition, but of the result of it, the ancient writers 
have given us no account. 

The Carthaginians, as we have elsewhere remarked, 
fitted out an expedition with a view, partly, to plant 


colonies on the African coast, and partly to make dis- 
coveries. This armament was commanded by Hanno, 
and consisted of sixty large vessels, on board of which 
were 30,000 persons of both sexes. The narration 
begin§ at the passage of the Straits of Gibraltar, or the 
Pillars of Hercules. After sailing two days along the 
African shore, they came to the city of Thymiaterium, 
situated in the middle of an extensive plain. In two 
days more they came to a cape, shaded with trees, 
called Solocis, or the promontory of Libya, on which 
they erected a temple to Neptune. They sailed round 
a bay thickly bordered with plantations of reeds, where 
numerous elephants and other wild animals were feed- 
ing. Beyond this they found, successively, four cities. 
Their next course was to the great River Lixus, flow- 
ing from Libya and lofty mountains in the interior, 
which abounded with wild beasts, and were inhabited 
by a race of inhospitable Ethiopians, who lived in 
caves, and surpassed even the wild animals in swift- 
ness. Sailing three days further along a desert coast, 
they came to a small island situated in a deep bay, 
where they founded a colony, and gave it the name of 
Cerne. They now entered another bay, and, passing 
along a great extent of coast, found many islands and 
rivers with great numbers of crocodiles and hippopot- 
ami. Further south a remarkable phenomenon arrest- 
ed their attention ; during the day a profound silence 
reigned along the shore, and the land was covered 
with a thick forest ; but when night came on, the shore 
blazed with fire, and echoed with tumultuous shouts 
and the sound of cymbals, trumpets, and other musical 



The Carthaginians, struck with terror, dared not 
land, but made all sail along these shores, and came 
to another region, which filled them with no less aston- 
ishment. The continent appeared to be all in a blaze ; 
torrents of fire rushed into the sea ; and when thjey at- 
tempted to land, the soil was too hot for the foot to 
tread upon. One object in particular surprised them, 
appearing at night to be a huge fire mingling with the 
stars, but in the day-time it proved to be a mountain 
of prodigious height, to which they gave the name of 
the Chariot of the Gods. After continuing their voyage 
three days longer, they lost sight of these fiery tor- 
rents, and entered another bay, where, on an island, 
they found inhabitants covered all over with shaggy 
hair like satyrs. To these monsters they gave the 
name of Gorillae. The males evaded all pursuit, as 
they climbed precipices, and threw stones at their pur- 
suers ; but three females were caught, and their skins 
were carried to Carthage. Here the narrative closes, 
by saying that the further progress of the expedition 
was arrested by the want of provisions. 

No voyage of discovery has afforded more ample 
room than this for the speculations of learned geogra- 
phers. Many of the circumstances in the narrative, 
which at first wore a marvellous aspect, have been 
found to correspond with the observations of modern 
travellers. The fires and nocturnal music represent 
the habits prevalent in all the negro countries, — re- 
pose during the heat of the day, and music and dancing 
prolonged through the night. The flames, which 
seemed to sweep over an expanse of territory, might 
be occasioned by the practice, equally general, of set- 



ting fire, at a certain season of the year, to the grass 
and shrubs ; and the Gorilla? were evidently that re- 
markable species of ape to which we give the name of 
chimpanse. Much difference of opinion prevails as 
to the extent of the coast traversed ; some writers con- 
tending that the voyage did not extend south of the 
limits of Morocco ; and others that it reached beyond 
Sierra Leone. 

It does not appear that the Greeks and Romans ever 
navigated much along the western coast of Africa. 
The trade in this quarter was carried on chiefly by the 
Phoenicians. Ivory was so abundant that the natives 
made it into cups, and ornaments for themselves and 
their horses. The Phoenicians carried thither Athenian 
cloths, Egyptian unguents, and various domestic uten- 
sils. It was generally believed that the coast turned off 
to the east, from a point just beyond the limit of the Car- 
thaginian discoveries, in a direct line towards Egypt, 
and that Africa thus formed a peninsula, of which the 
greatest length was from east to west. Curiosity and 
commerce also attracted the attention of the ancients 
toward the eastern coast of Africa. As early as the 
time of Solomon, voyages were made down the Red 
Sea to regions farther south ; but whether the Ophir 
of the sacred Scriptures was in Africa, Arabia, or India, 
cannot be determined. All knowledge of these voyages 
became lost, and in the time of. Alexander, navigation 
did not extend in that quarter beyond Cape Guardafui. 



Egypt, one of the most celebrated spots on the face 
of the globe, occupies the northeastern corner of Afri- 
ca, and lies between the Mediterranean Sea on the 
north, and Nubia on the south ; and between the Red 
Sea on the east, and the deserts on the west. It is 
about 600 miles long, and 350 broad, and has an area 
of 186,000 square miles. It is a fertile valley, and 
its most remarkable feature is the Nile, which runs 
its whole length, from south to north, emptying itself 
into the Mediterranean Sea. This region has now a 
population of 2,500,000, scarcely exceeding that of 
New England. Its government is a stern despotism ; 
though the present ruler, Mehemet Ali, has done some- 
thing toward improving the condition of the kingdom 
in a political point of view, he has not greatly en- 
larged the liberties of the people. 

It is chiefly in respect to its history, that Egypt ex- 
cites our interest. It has been the theatre upon which 
some of the most interesting events in the annals of 
mankind have occurred. It is near the valley of the 
Euphrates, in which the descendants of Noah settled, 
and thence soon spread themselves over it. A few 



centuries after the Deluge, it was the seat of a great 
empire, and became the centre of knowledge and civil- 
ization. Here schools of learning were established, 
men of profound science flourished, kings and princes 
built vast cities, made artificial lakes, constructed ca- 
nals, erected temples of mighty magnificence, caused 
vast chambers, as depositories of the dead, to be cut in 
the solid rock, and raised mighty pyramids, which still 
defy the crumbling effect of time. 

Thus, while America was unknown, while Europe 
was stagnating with bogs, or shrouded by impenetrable 
forests, Egypt was taking the lead in arts and knowl- 
edge. Here, 3,000 years ago, Homer and the mas- 
ter spirits of that age went to acquire learning, as 
do the scholars of our time to Oxford or Cambridge ; 
here, 3,400 years ago, Moses was educated in a su- 
perior manner, and thus qualified to undertake the de- 
liverance of the children of Israel, and the founding 
of their civil and religious code. Since this period, 
Egypt has experienced every vicissitude of fortune, 
though it seems, in all ages, to have been the tempting 
object of the spoiler. Cambyses, Nebuchadnezzar, 
Alexander, Caesar, Omar, and Napoleon have each 
in turn seized upon it, and made it the prey of their 
ambition. And, although it was in early ages the 
lamp of the globe, it has long been, itself, involved in 
the darkness of despotism and ignorance. In modern 
times, it has attracted the attention of the learned 
world, on account of its antiquities, and through the 
exertions of intelligent travellers, its hidden revelations 
have been disclosed to the admiring gaze of mankind. 
Of these we shall give a particular account in the suc- 
ceeding pages. 



The first mention of Egypt in history is that which 
we find in the Pentateuch. Here Moses informs us, 
that Abraham went down into Egypt, in the year 
1920 before Christ, on account of a famine then pre- 
vailing in the land of Canaan. It seems, therefore, 
that the former country was, at that early period, in a 
state of high cultivation. In the time of Abraham, 
Egypt was a monarchy. Nearly two centuries after- 
wards, we find merchants from Gilead trading with 
camels loaded with drugs and spices, who carry Jo- 
seph to that country, and sell him, as a slave, to an 
officer of the king. It is remarkable to observe the 
early date at which slavery existed in Africa, a quarter 
of the world destined to suffer in the most extraordi- 
nary degree from that dreadful scourge. Of the po- 
litical state of the kingdom, at this early period, we 
have no particular account;^ but as evidences of its 
great civilization and opulence, we find mention of the 
use of chariots and wagons, vestures of fine linen, 
rings, gold chains, silver cups, &c. Herodotus, who 
flourished about a thousand years after Moses, is the 
first profane writer who has given us any account of 
this country. He visited Egypt, and thus became a 
personal witness of the state of learning and the arts 
for which that kingdom was famous in all antiquity. 
His descriptions of the country are very faithful, but 
they are mixed up with many fabulous recitals, one of 
which we shall copy as a specimen of the amusing 
gossip which the " father of history " often introduces 
into his grave narrations. 

" Before the reign of Psammetichus, the Egyptians 
esteemed themselves the most ancient of the human 



race ; but when this king came to the throne, he took 
great pains to settle this question, and the result was 
that the Phrygians were the most ancient nation, and 
the Egyptians occupied the second rank. In the course 
of this inquiry he practised the following experiment. 
He took two children, just born, and gave them to a 
shepherd to be brought up among his flocks. The 
shepherd was ordered never to speak in their hearing, 
but to place them in a lonely hut, and suckle them with 
his goats. His object, in this scheme, was, to know 
what word the children would first pronounce. It 
happened according to his wish. The shepherd fol- 
lowed his instructions. At the end of two years, as 
he, one morning, opened the door of the hut, the 
children held out their hands to him as if in supplica- 
tion, pronouncing the word bekos. This did not, at 
first, strike his attention ; but, on their repeating the 
expression every time he made his appearance, he 
gave information of it to his master. When the king 
heard this word, he made inquiries whether it was used 
in any known language, and discovered that it was the 
Phrygian name for bread. In this manner the Egyp- 
tians came to the belief, that the Phrygians were older 
than themselves. 

"The above story I was told at Memphis, by the 
priests of Vulcan. The Greeks, among other idle 
tales, relate that Psammetichus gave the children to be 
nursed by women whose tongues were cut out. Every 
reader must determine for himself as to the credibility 
of these narrations. I relate the particulars just as I 
received them from the Egyptians. These people 
esteem Ceres and Bacchus as the great deities of the 



realms below ; they are also the first of mankind who 
maintained the immortality of the soul. They believe 
that the soul, after death, enters into the body of some 
animal, and, after thus passing through every species 
of terrestrial, aquatic, and winged creature, it enters a 
second time into the human body, undergoing all these 
changes in a course of three thousand years. This 
opinion some of the Greeks have adopted." 

The most ancient name of Egypt was derived from 
Mizraim, the son of Ham, who is supposed to have been 
the founder of the Egyptian monarchy. Upper Egypt 
was also called Thebais, from its capital, Thebes, the 
city of a hundred gates. Many proofs of the former 
grandeur and magnificence of this ancient metropolis 
still remain ; and unrivalled temples, palaces, and col- 
umns vindicate the eulogies passed upon Thebes by 
Tacitus and Strabo. It was reported by these writers, 
that this city was able to send out two hundred chariots 
and ten thousand warriors at each of its hundred gates. 
The same authors mention the existence of a celebrat- 
ed statue of Memnon, an Egyptian king, in this city. 
He was the fabled son of Aurora, and it is said, that, 
at sunrise and sunset, musical sounds issued from the 
statue, and even from the pedestal, after the statue was 
destroyed. These have been described as cheerful and 
harmonious in the morning, and plaintive at evening. 
Strabo, who declares that he heard the music, also 
informs us, that he could not distinguish whether it 
proceeded from the pedestal or from the people around 
it, and hints his suspicions of the latter. Cambyses, 
after his conquest of Egypt, demolished the statue ; 
but its remains, from their grandeur and beauty, have 
astonished modern travellers. 



The erection of the pyramids would alone go far to 
prove, that Egypt was the mother of the arts and sci- 
ences, for no nation has, as yet, been able to surpass or 
rival them. These gigantic monuments, built before the 
period at which authentic history begins, have ever ex- 
cited the curiosity and wonder of mankind. Their vast 
antiquity, their amazing magnitude, the mystery which 
hangs over their origin and design, contribute to render 
them objects of intense interest. 

There are great numbers of these structures in 
Egypt, and about eighty in Nubia. Those of the for- 
mer country are all situated on the west side of the 
Nile, and extend, in an irregular line, to the distance 



of nearly seventy miles. The most famous are those of 
Jizeh, opposite the city of Cairo. The largest, which 
is said to have been built by Cheops, a king of Egypt, 
about 900 years before Christ, is by far the greatest 
structure in stone that has been reared by the hand of 
man. Near this great pyramid are two others, of con- 
siderable size, and several smaller ones. All have 
square foundations, and their sides face the cardinal 
points. The largest pyramid excited the wonder of 
Herodotus, who visited Egypt 450 B. C. He says, 
that one hundred thousand men were employed twenty 
years in building it, and that the body of Cheops was 1 
placed in a room beneath the bottom of the pyramid. 
The second pyramid is said to have been built by Ce- 
phrenes,the brother of Cheops, and the third by My- 
cerines, the son of Cheops. 

The great pyramid consists of a series of platforms, 
each of which is smaller than the one on which it rests, 
and consequently presents the appearance of steps. 
Of these steps there are two hundred and three. They 
are of unequal thickness, from two feet and eight inches 
to four feet and eight inches. The stones are cut and 
fitted to each other with great nicety. The whole 
height is four hundred and fifty-six feet. The top is a 
platform, thirty-two feet square. The foundation is 
seven hundred and sixty-three feet on each side, and 
covers a space of about thirteen acres. 

The pyramid has been entered, and has been found 
to consist of chambers and passages, some of great 
extent. The material of which the pyramids are built 
is limestone, and it is probable that this was obtained 
from quarries contiguous to the place where they 



now stand. The stones of the great pyramid rarely 
exceed nine feet in length, six and a half in breadth, 
and four feet eight inches in thickness. The ascent 
is attended with great difficulty and danger, on ac- 
count of the broken state of the steps ; yet it is fre- 
quently accomplished, and sometimes by females. The 
scene from the top is described by travellers as incon- 
ceivably grand. 

The purpose for which these monuments were rear- 
ed has been a question of great interest. It has been 
conjectured that they were built as observatories ; but 
this seems to be an absurd supposition ; for why build 
three or four close together, of nearly the same eleva- 
tion ? There is no good reason to doubt that they 
were erected as burial-places for the Egyptian kings, 
who caused them to be constructed. The natural pride 
of man, the desire of being remembered for ages, 
and some superstitious notions connected with the 
religion of the country, doubtless furnished the mo- 
tives for the construction of these vast monuments. 
Nothing can better show the folly of human ambition, 
than that, while these senseless stones remain, their 
builders have perished, and their memories been blotted 
out for ever ! 

! The sphinxes are also stupendous monuments of 
the skill and perseverance of this people. The largest 
and most admired of them seems partly the work 
of nature and partly that of art, being cut out of a 
solid rock. The larger portion of the entire fabric 
is covered with the sands of the desert, which time 
has so accumulated around these ancient masterpieces, 
that the pyramids themselves have lost much of their 



apparent elevation. The number of sphinxes found 
in Egypt, together with their shape, countenanced 
the oldest and most commonly received opinion, that 
they refer to the rise and overflow of the Nile, 
which lasted during the passage of the sun through the 
constellations Leo and Virgo ; both these signs are, 
therefore, combined in the figure, which has the head 
of a virgin and the body of a lion. But it has been 
more recently concluded, that the sphinxes were mys- 
terious symbols of a religious character, not now to be 

We have the testimony of all antiquity, that the 
Egyptians, in the earlier stages of society, accumu- 
lated, if they did not give the first impulse to, the great- 
er part of the learning of the ancient world, and that 
this country was the source from which the rest of 
mankind derived, for a long time, their chief knowledge 
of the arts and sciences. Egypt excelled as a school,* 
both of politics and philosophy, all the other existing 
kingdoms of the earth ; and so conscious were the 
ancients of her superiority in learning, the arts, and 
general civilization, that, as we have said, most of the 
illustrious men of other countries visited Egypt, either 
with a view of comparing her institutions with those of 
their respective states, or of acquiring new information. 
It was here, that Homer gathered materials for song, 
and having refined and expanded his sublime genius 
with Egyptian lore, produced his immortal poems. 
Here Solon and Lycurgus found the archetypes of their 
celebrated laws, the chief excellences of which are 
borrowed from the Egyptian polity. Pythagoras drew 
from Egypt the principal tenets of his philosophy ; and 



the doctrine of the metempsychosis,' or the transmigra- 
tion of souls, was confessedly of the same origin. Here 
: Plato imbibed that religious mysticism, those beautiful 
illusions, and those eloquent, but fanciful, theories, 
which characterize his works ; and he was probably 
indebted to the priests of Memphis and Thebes for the 
knowledge which he displays of the Deity in his 
f Phaedon " and " Alcibiades," which, although obscure, 
is far superior to the vulgar conceptions of his age. 
Greece was indebted to Egypt, perhaps for letters, and 
undoubtedly for the mysteries of religion. The polity 
of the Egyptians was equal to their skill in the arts 
and sciences. The form of the government was mo- 
narchical, and the succession to the throne hereditary. 
But the princes of Egypt were not absolute monarchs, 
being bound by the existing ordinances and laws of the 
country. The government was a limited one, where 
the kings were the parents of the people, rather than 
their tyrants and despots. In contemplating such a 
form of government, in an age so early, we cannot 
avoid tracing it to that patriarchal system which was 
the origin of all legitimate authority. 

It is lamentable, however, to think, that a people so 
wise in their politics, so conversant with science, and 
so richly endowed with general knowledge, should 
have been so grossly superstitious as to expose them- 
selves to the ridicule of nations greatly their inferiors 
in general intelligence, and should have cherished the 
meanest and most degrading conceptions of the deity. 
They not only worshipped him under the symbols of 
Isis, Osiris, and Apis, symbols which had not lost all 
trace of their philosophical origin, but they made a 



cat, a dog, or a stork, an object of adoration, and ad- 
mitted into the list of their gods the very herbs of their 
gardens. Superstition is always intolerant and cruel ; 
while it debases the understanding, it hardens the heart. 
Those who imagined that they found a type of the 
Divinity in an onion, perceived not his image in a 

Egypt was one of the countries earliest civilized and 
brought under a fixed social and political system. The 
first king mentioned as having reigned over that coun- 
try is Menes, or Men, who is supposed to have lived 
about two thousand years before Christ, near the time 
fixed by biblical chronologists for the foundation of the 
kingdom of Assyria by Nimrod, and corresponding 
also with the era of the Chinese emperor Yao, with 
whom the historical period of China begins. All in- 
quiries concerning the history of nations previous to 
this epoch are mere speculations, unsupported by evi- 
dence. The records of the Egyptian priests, as handed 
down to us by Herodotus, Manetho, Eratosthenes, and 
others, place the era of Menes several thousand years 
further back, reckoning a great number of kings and 
dynasties after him, with remarks on the gigantic stat- 
ure of some of the kings, and of their wonderful ex- 
ploits, and other characteristics of mystical and con- 
fused tradition. The Scripture calls the kings of Egypt, 
indiscriminately, Pharaoh, which is now ascertained to 
be not the proper name of the individual monarch, 
but a prefix, like that of Csesar and Augustus, given to 
the Roman emperors. 

Sesostris appears to have been the chosen hero of 
Egyptian fable, as Arthur was of the Armorican le- 



gends, and Charlemagne of the old French and Italian 
romances. It is possible that some such person once 
lived, but when, it would be difficult to say. It is 
equally probable that he, in some manner or other, 
distinguished himself, particularly by liberality to the 
priests, a virtue, which, in their eyes, would include all 
the others. If we were to indulge in any one hypoth- 
esis rather than another, we should say, he was the 
Pharaoh, who, by the counsel of Joseph, first divided 
the lands among his subjects, reserving to himself an 
annual rent. " The priests," says Herodotus, " inform 
me that Sesostris made a regular distribution of the 
lands of Egypt. He assigned to each Egyptian a 
square piece of ground, and his revenues were drawn 
from the rent which each occupant annually paid him." 
It will be remembered, that the Pharaoh in question 
spared the lands of the priests, and fed them during 
the famine. At the time of the settlement of Jacob 
and his family in Egypt, that country was the granary 
of the neighbouring nations, and apparently the centre 
of a great caravan trade, carried on by the Arabs, or 
Ishmaelites, who brought to it the spices and other 
valuable products of the East. 

Manetho's seventeenth dynasty consists of shepherd 
kings, who were said to have reigned at Memphis. 
These shepherds, who are represented as people with 
red hair and blue eyes, came from the northeast, per- 
haps from the mountains of Assyria. They conquered 
or overran the whole country, committing the greatest 
ravages, and at last settled in Lower Egypt, where 
they had kings of their own race ; but they were finally 
expelled. The Egyptians, at various periods of their 



history, spread their conquests as far as Jerusalem, one 
way, and perhaps into Libya and Ethiopia, in other 
directions ; but there is no good reason for believing, 
that they penetrated to Bactria and India, as some his- 
torians relate. Cambyses, king of Persia, a monarch 
of a savage and furious disposition, made an expedition 
into Egypt against King Amasis, who is said to have 
deceived him respecting the gift of his daughter in 
marriage. The son of Amasis, named Psammenitus, 
had succeeded to the throne when Cambyses arrived 
with his army on the borders of Egypt. The invader 
captured Pelusium, defeated the Egyptian army, and 
took Psammenitus captive. After exercising great cru- 
elties against the royal family and nobles, Cambyses 
put to death the unfortunate king, mangled and burnt 
the body of Amasis, and reduced Egypt to the state 
of a Persian province. He then resolved upon an ex- 
pedition against the king of Ethiopia, who had defied 
his power. Leaving his Greek auxiliaries to secure 
his conquests, he marched with a vast army into Upper 
Egypt ; but, having neglected to furnish his troops with 
the provisions necessary for such an enterprise, they 
were soon reduced to the most dreadful extremities. 
They first devoured all their beasts of burden, and 
then every herb they found on their way ; and, finally, 
were obliged to sacrifice every tenth man as food for 
the rest. Cambyses, after long persisting in his mad 
attempt, at last became sensible of his personal dan- 
ger, and returned to Thebes, with the loss of the great- 
er part of his army. A large body had been detached 
by him against the temple of Jupiter Ammon ; but its 
fate was never certainly known, as not a man returned 



to tell the tale. It is probable that they were all over- 
whelmed by a whirlwind of sand in the deserts. 

The Persians kept possession of Egypt, with occa- 
sional interruptions, till the invasion of that country by 
Alexander the Great, in the year 331 before Christ. 
So great was the hatred which the Egyptians bore to 
the Persians, that they immediately received the Mac- 
edonian conqueror with open arms, and hailed him as 
their deliverer. Alexander, before he left Egypt, laid 
the foundation of Alexandria, which, afterward, be- 
came the capital of the kingdom. After the decease 
of that monarch, his conquests were divided among his 
generals, and Egypt fell to the lot of Ptolemy, the son 
of Lagus. The dynasty of the Ptolemies ruled over 
Egypt for nearly three hundred years. 

The last sovereign of this dynasty was Cleopatra, 
one of the most celebrated women of antiquity, of 
whom we shall give a more particular account, no less 
for her singular character than from the circumstance 
of her being the last of the native and independent 
sovereigns of Egypt. She was the eldest daughter of 
Ptolemy Auletes, who died in the year 51 before Christ, 
bequeathing his crown to her, then seventeen years of 
age, in conjunction with her brother Ptolemy, who was 
younger, directing them, according to the custom of 
that family, to be joined in marriage. The ministers 
of young Ptolemy, however, deprived Cleopatra of her 
share in the royalty, and expelled her from the king- 
dom. She retired to Syria, and there raised an army, 
with which she approached the frontiers of Egypt. 
This was during the war between Caesar and Pompey ; 
and, after the battle of Pharsalia, the latter, taking 



refuge in Egypt, was basely murdered, at the instiga- 
tion of Ptolemy's ministers. 

Caesar soon after arrived in Alexandria, and, as 
representative of the Roman people, took cognizance 
of the dispute between Cleopatra and her brother, who 
were said to have been appointed guardians of the 
crown by the testament of the deceased king. Here 
Cleopatra began to essay the power of those charms 
which distinguished her in so peculiar a manner, and 
proved the instrument of enslaving to her dominion 
some of the most conspicuous characters of the age. 
In a private interview with Caesar, she pleaded her 
cause with such effect that he gave judgment in her 
favor. The Alexandrine war which followed, resulted 
in the defeat of the Egyptians, and the young king 
was drowned in the Nile. Caesar then caused Cleo- 
patra to marry a younger brother, also named Ptole- 
my, who, being a mere boy, could only contribute his 
name to the joint sovereignty. The great Roman 
statesman and warrior, who had almost forgotten am- 
bition for love, at length tore himself from the fasci- 
nating Cleopatra, and followed his fate at Rome. After 
his departure she reigned without molestation, and 
when Ptolemy had attained his fourteenth year, the age 
of majority, she removed him by poison, and thence- 
forward occupied the throne of Egypt alone. When 
Caesar was killed, she displayed her regard for his 
memory by refusing to join the party of his assassins, 
though threatened with death by Cassius. She sailed 
with a fleet against them, but was forced back to 
Egypt by a storm. After the battle of Philippi, Mark 
Antony visited Asia, in order to pillage and settle that 



wealthy province. On the pretext, that Cleopatra or 
her officers had furnished supplies to Cassius, he sum- 
moned her to appear before him at Tarsus in Cilicia. 
Cleopatra prepared for the interview in a muiiner suit- 
ed to the character of the conqueror and to the state, 
of a young and beauteous eastern queen. Laden with 
money and magnificent presents of all kinds, she sailed 
with her fleet to the mouth of the Cydnus, and her 
voyage along that river has furnished a subject for the 
most florid description to poets and historians. The 
reader may be pleased to see it in the coloring of 
Shakspeare, closely copied from the draft of Plutarch. 

" The barge she sat in like a burnished throne 
Burned on the water : the poop was beaten gold 5 
Purple the sails, and so perfumed, that 
The winds were lovesick with them : the oars were silver, 
Which to the tune of flutes kept stroke." 

" For her own person, 
It beggared all description : she did lie 
In her pavilion, (cloth of gold, of tissue,) 
O'er-picturing that Venus where we see 
The fancy outwork nature. On each side her, 
Stood pretty, dimpled boys, like smiling Cupids, 
With diverse-colored fans, whose wind did seem 
To glow the delicate cheeks which they did cool." 

u At the helm 

A seeming mermaid steers ; the silken tackle 
Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands 
That yarely frame the office. From the barge 
A strange, invisible perfume hits the sense 
Of the adjacent wharfs. The city cast 
Her people out upon her ; and Antony, 
Enthroned in the market-place, did sit alone." 

The consequence of this studied and voluptuous pre- 
sentation was such as the crafty Cleopatra had antici- 



pated. Antony became her captive, and accompa- 
nied her to Alexandria. Discovering that he had a 
coarseness of iaste, contracted by his military habits, 
she often assumed a sportive and hoydenish character, 
and gamed, hunted, rioted, and drank with him. She 
was continually planning new schemes for his amuse- 
ment, and scrupled not to sacrifice all the decorum of 
sex and rank, in order to adapt herself to his vicious 
inclinations. Antony, after spending a winter in her 
company, returned to Rome, where, from political mo- 
tives, he married Octavia, the sister of Augustus, then 
called Octavius. Cleopatra's charms, however, drew 
him back to Egypt ; and when he proceeded on his ex- 
pedition against Parthia, she made him odious by the 
cruelties and oppressions which she urged him to prac- 
tise. When the civil war between Antony and Octavius 
broke out, Cleopatra joined the former with a fleet of 
sixty ships. It was by her persuasion that the decisive 
battle was fought by sea at Actium. She headed her 
own fleet in the engagement, but her courage was un- 
equal to the conflict. Before the danger reached her, 
she fled, and was followed by her whole squadron ; 
and the infatuated Antony, u whose heart was to her 
rudder tied by the string," steered after her, to the 
eternal disgrace of his name, and the ruin of his hopes. 

The conduct of Cleopatra, after this period, seems 
to have been a perpetual wavering between her re- 
maining attachment to Antony, and the care of her 
own interests. Returning to Alexandria, she put to 
death all whom she suspected of disaffection ; and she 
undertook the extraordinary project of drawing her 
ships across the Isthmus of Suez, into the Red Sea, in 



order to convey herself and her treasures into some 
remote land, in case of being expelled from Egypt ; 
but her ships were destroyed by the Arabs. By her 
arts she obtained a reconciliation with Antony, who 
had felt a deep remorse for his own unmanly subjec- 
tion to her, and began to suspect her fidelity ; and they 
pursued their usual course of voluptuousness till the j 
approach of Octavius. The close of their career is j 
described in so interesting a manner by Plutarch, that \ 
we shall follow his account to the end of this chapter. 

Antony and Cleopatra had before established a so- 
ciety called The Inimitable Livers, of which they were 
both members ; they now, in their misfortunes, insti- ! 
tuted another with the title of The Companions in ! 
Death. To this they admitted their friends, and passed 
their time in banquets and diversions. Cleopatra, at 
the same time, busied herself in making a collection 
of poisonous drugs, and, being desirous to know which 
was least painful in the operation, she tried them on 
persons condemned to death. Such poisons as oper- 
ated quickly, she found to cause violent pain and con- 
vulsion. She therefore examined venomous creatures, ! 
and caused them to be tried under her inspection. 
These experiments she repeated daily, and at length 
found that the bite of the asp was the most eligible 
kind of death, as it brought on a slow lethargy, in j 
which the face was covered with a gentle sweat, and 
the senses sunk into an easy stupefaction like a sweet 

They both sent ambassadors to Octavius in Asia, j 
Cleopatra requested Egypt for her children, but An- 1 
tony merely asked permission to live as a private man | 



in Egypt, or, if that were denied, to retire to Athens. 
Octavius rejected Antony's petition, but answered Cle- 
opatra, that she might expect every favor from him 
provided she put Antony to death, or banished him 
her dominions. As soon as the winter was over, he 
marched against Antony by the way of Syria. Cleo- 
patra had erected at Alexandria, near the temple of 
Isis, some monuments of extraordinary size and mag- 
nificence. To these she removed her treasures of 
gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony, ivory, and cin- 
namon, with a large quantity of flax, and a number of 
torches. Octavius was struck with apprehension, lest, 
upon a sudden emergency, she should set fire to this 
enormous pile of wealth. For this reason he was con- 
tinually sending messengers to her with assurances of 
gentle and honorable treatment, while in the mean 
time he hastened onward with his army. 

When he reached Alexandria he encamped near 
the hippodrome. Antony made a sally, routed his 
cavalry, drove them back to their intrenchments, and 
returned to the city in triumph. On his way to the 
palace, he met Cleopatra, whom, armed as he was, he 
saluted with a kiss, and at the same time recommend- 
ed to her favor a brave soldier who had signalized him- 
self in the battle. She presented to the soldier a cui- 
rass and helmet of gold, which he took, and the same 
night deserted to Octavius. After this, Antony chal- 
lenged Octavius to fight him in single combat, but got 
only the reply, that Antony might find other ways to 
end his life. Antony, therefore, concluding that he 
could not fall more honorably than in battle, determined 
to attack his enemy at once by sea and land. The 



night preceding the execution of this design, he or- 
dered the servants at supper to render him their best 
services that evening, and fill the wine round plenti- 
fully, for that the next day they might belong to anoth- 
er master, while he lay lifeless on the ground. His 
friends were afflicted, and w T ept to hear him talk thus; 
but he encouraged them by assurances, that his ex- 
pectations of a glorious victory were at least equal to 
those of an honorable death. At the dead of night, 
when the whole city was hushed in silence, — a silence 
that was deepened by awful apprehensions of the en- 
suing day, — there was heard, on a sudden, the sound 
of musical instruments, and a noise resembling the 
cries of bacchanals, which seemed to pass through the 
whole city, and to go out the gate which led to the 
enemy's camp. This prodigy was thought to portend, 
that Bacchus, the god whom Antony affected to imitate, 
had thus forsaken him. 

At daylight, Antony marched out with his infantry, 
and took post on a rising ground, where he saw his 
fleet advance toward the enemy, and waited the event. 
When the hostile squadrons met, they hailed each other 
with their oars in a friendly manner, Antony's fleet 
making the first advances, and then sailed peaceably 
together towards the city. No sooner was this done, 
than the cavalry deserted him in the same manner, and 
went over to Octavius. His infantry were routed, and 
he retired to the city, exclaiming that Cleopatra had be- 
trayed him to those with whom he was fighting only 
for her sake. 

The unhappy queen, dreading his anger, fled to her 
monument, and secured it with bars and bolts, giving 



orders that Antony should be informed she was dead. 
He, when he heard this, believing it to be true, cried, 
" Antony, why dost thou delay ? What is life to thee, 
when she lies dead for whom alone thou couldst wish to 
live? " He then went to his chamber, and, unlacing 
his coat of mail, exclaimed, " I grieve not, Cleopatra, 
that thou art gone before me, for I shall soon be with 
thee, but I grieve to think, that I, so distinguished a 
general, should be outdone in magnanimity by a wo- 
man." A faithful servant attended him, whose name 
was Eros. He had engaged this servant to kill him 
whenever he should think it necessary, and he now 
demanded that service. Eros drew his sword as if 
he designed to kill him, but, suddenly turning round, 
he slew himself, and fell at his master's feet. " That 
was greatly done, Eros," said Antony, " thy heart 
would not permit thee to kill thy master, but thou hast 
taught him what to do by thy example." Thus saying, 
he plunged his sword into his bowels, and threw him- 
self on a couch. 

The wound did not cause immediate death, and the 
blood staunching as he lay on the couch, he came to 
himself, and entreated those who stood by, to put him 
out of pain ; but they all fled, and left him to his cries 
and torments, till Diomedes, secretary to Cleopatra, 
came with a request that he would come to her in the 
monument. When Antony heard she was still living, 
it gave him fresh spirits, and he ordered his servants 
to take him up. They carried him in their arms to 
the door of the monument. Cleopatra would not suffer 
the door to be opened ; but a cord being let down from 
a window, Antony was fastened to it, and she, with her 



two women, all that were admitted into the monument, 
drew him up. Nothing, as the spectators affirm, could 
be more affecting than this spectacle. Antony, cover- 
ed with blood, and in the agonies of death, hoisted up 
by the rope, and stretching out his hands to Cleopatra 
while he was suspended in the air ; for it was with the 
greatest difficulty that they drew him up, though Cleo- 
patra exerted all her strength, straining every nerve, 
and distorting every feature with the violence of the 
effort, while those below endeavoured to animate and 
encourage her, and seemed to share in all her emo- 
tions. When she had drawn him up and laid him on a 
couch, she stood over him, rent her clothes, beat and 
wounded her breast; she wiped the blood from the 
disfigured countenance of Antony, called him her lord, 
her emperor, her husband ! Her whole soul was ab- 
sorbed in his misfortunes, and she seemed totally to 
have forgotten her own. Antony endeavoured to 
soothe her, and called for wine. When he had drunk, 
he advised her to consult her own safety, as far as 
might be consistent with honor. As to himself, he 
said, she ought rather to rejoice in the remembrance 
of his past happiness than to bewail his present mis- 
fortunes, since he had been illustrious in life, and not 
inglorious in death. He had conquered like a Roman, 
and it was only by a Roman that he was conquered. 

A little before he expired, Proculeius arrived from 
Octavius ; for, as soon as Antony had stabbed himself, 
and was conveyed to Cleopatra, Dercetaeus, one of his 
guards, privately carried off his bloody sword and 
showed it to Octavius, who, when he beheld this token 
of Antony's death, retired to the inner part of his tent, 



and shed tears in remembrance of a man who had 
been his relation, his colleague in government, and his 
associate in so many battles and important matters. 
He then called his friends together, and read the letters 
which had passed between him and Antony, wherein it 
appeared, that, although he had written in a reasonable 
manner, the replies of Antony were insolent and con- 

After this, he despatched Proculeius with orders to 
take Cleopatra, alive, if possible, for he was extremely 
solicitous to save the treasures in the monument, which 
would so greatly add to the glory of his triumph. But 
she refused to admit him into the monument, and would 
only speak to him through the bolted gate. Cleopatra 
still demanded the kingdom for her children; while 
Proculeius, on the other hand, encouraged her to trust 
every thing to Octavius. After he had reconnoitred the 
place, he sent information to Octavius, who despatched 
Gall us to his assistance. Gallus went up to the gate 
of the monument and drew Cleopatra into conversa- 
tion, while Proculeius applied a ladder to the window 
where Antony had been drawn in. Here he entered 
with two attendants, and immediately made for the 
place where Cleopatra was in conference with Gallus. 
One of her women discovered him and screamed aloud, 
" Wretched Cleopatra ! you are taken alive ! " She 
turned round, and, seeing Proculeius, the same instant 
attempted to stab herself, having, for this purpose, 
always carried a dagger about with her. Proculeius, 
however, prevented her, by seizing her arm, and en- 
treated her not to commit such an injury either towards 
herself or Octavius, by depriving him of an opportunity 



of showing his clemency, and subjecting him to the 
imputation of treachery and cruelty. He took the 
dagger from her and shook her clothes, lest she should 
have poison concealed about her. Octavius also sent 
his freedman Epaphroditus with orders to treat her 
with the greatest politeness, but, by all means, to bring 
her alive. 

Many considerable princes begged the body of An- 
tony, that they might have the honor of giving it bur- 
ial ; but Octavius would not take it from Cleopatra, 
who interred it with her own hands, and performed the 
funeral rites with great magnificence. The excess of 
her affliction, and the inflammation of the wounds she 
had given herself, threw her into a fever. She was 
pleased to find an excuse in this for abstaining from 
food, and hoped by this means to procure an easy 
death. Octavius suspected this, and forced her to take 
food and medicine, by threatening, upon her refusal, to 
treat her children with severity. By these means she 
was recovered, and a few days after he paid her *a 
visit. She received him in a negligent attire, and lying 
carelessly upon a couch. When the conqueror entered 
her apartment, she threw herself at his feet. • Her 
features were distorted, her hair in disorder, her voice 
trembling, her eyes sunken, and her bosom bore the 
marks of violence from her own hands. In short, her 
person expressed the image of her mind. Yet, in this 
deplorable condition, there were some remains of that 
grace, spirit, and vivacity, which had so heightened 
her former charms, and some gleams of her native ele- 
gance might be seen to wander over her melancholy 



There was in the train of Octavius a young noble- 
man named Cornelius Dolabella. He was smitten with 
the charms of Cleopatra, and, having engaged to inform 
her of every thing that passed, he sent her private no- 
tice that Octavius was about to return into Syria, and 
that within three days she would be sent away, with 
her children. When she heard this, she requested 
permission to make her last oblations to Antony. This 
being granted, she was conveyed to his tomb, and, 
kneeling down with her women, she thus addressed the 
manes of the dead : — "It is not long, my Antony, since 
with these hands I buried thee. Alas ! they were then 
free ; but thy Cleopatra is now a prisoner, attended by 
a guard, lest, in the transports of her grief, she should 
disfigure this captive body, which is reserved to adorn 
the triumph over thee. These are the last offerings, 
the last honors, she can pay thee, for she is now to be 
conveyed to a distant land. Nothing could part us 
while we lived, but in death we are to be divided. 
Thou, a Roman, liest buried in Egypt; and I, an 
Egyptian, must be interred in Italy, the only favor I 
shall receive from thy country. Yet, if the gods of 
Rome have power or mercy left, — for, surely, those of 
Egypt have forsaken us, — let them not suffer me to be 
led in living triumph to thy disgrace. No ! hide me 
with thee in the grave ; for life, since thou hast left, 
has been misery to me ! " 

Thus the unhappy queen bewailed her misfortunes ; 
and, after she had crowned the tomb with flowers and 
kissed it, she ordered the bath to be prepared. When, 
she had bathed, she sat down to a magnificent supper, 
soon after which, a peasant came to the gate with a 



small basket. The guard inquired what it contained ; j 
and the man, lifting up the leaves at top, showed them j 
a parcel of figs. As they admired their size and ! 
beauty, he smiled, and bade them take some, but they j 
declined ; not suspecting that the basket contained | 
any thing else, it was carried in. After supper, Cleo- j 
patra sent a letter to Octavius, and, ordering every body j 
out of the monument except her two women, she made I 
fast the door. Octavius read the letter, and suspected, I 
from the plaintive style in which it was written, and 
the earnest request that she might be buried in the same l 
tomb with Antony, that she had some fatal design. At 
first, he was for hastening to her; but, on second 
thought, he sent others. They ran the whole way, 
alarmed the guards, and broke open the doors, but were 
too late to save her. They found her quite dead, 
lying on a golden bed, and dressed in all her regal 
ornaments. Iras, one of her women, lay dead at her 
feet, and Charmion, hardly able to support herself, was 
adjusting her mistress's diadem. One of the. messen- 
gers exclaimed, angrily, " Charmion, was this well 
done ? " " Perfectly well," she replied, 14 and worthy 
a descendant of the kings of Egypt." Saying this, 
she fell down dead. 

Some say an asp was brought in among the figs, hid- 
den under the leaves, and Cleopatra managed so that 
she might be bitten without seeing it. On removing 
the leaves, however, she perceived it, and said, " This 
is what I wanted " ; on which, she immediately held 
out her arm to it. Others say, the asp was kept in a 
water-vessel, and that she vexed and pricked it with a 
golden spindle till it seized her arm. Nothing of this, 
however, could be ascertained with certainty. There 



is still another report, that she carried about with her 
a certain poison in a hollow bodkin, which she wore in 
her hair. Yet, there was neither any mark of poison 
on her body, nor was any reptile found in the monu- 
ment, though the track of one was said to have been 
discovered on the sands opposite Cleopatra's window. 
Others, again, have affirmed, that she had two small 
punctures on her arm, apparently caused by the sting 
of the asp ; and it seems Octavius gave credit to this, 
for her effigy, which he carried in triumph, had an asp 
on the arm. 

The beauty of Cleopatra is said to have been no 
way extraordinary nor striking ; but her wit and fas- 
cinating, manners rendered her absolutely irresistible. 
Her voice was delightfully melodious, and had the same 
variety of modulation as a many-stringed instrument. 
She spoke most languages ; and there were but few of 
the foreign ambassadors at her court whom she answer- 
ed by means of an interpreter. She gave audience in 
person to the Ethiopians, the Troglodytes, the He- 
brews, Arabs, Scythians, Medes, and Parthians ; nor 
were these all the languages with which she was 

Cleopatra died in the twenty-eighth year before Christ. 
Egypt became reduced to a Roman province, and 
shared the fortunes of that empire till the irruption of 
the Saracens ; by which event, it became subjected to 
|the sway of the Mohammedans, under which it con- 
tinues to the present day, nominally subject to the 
Ottoman Porte, but virtually independent. We shall 
hereafter give a sketch of some of the most interesting 
events in the history of Modern Egypt. 


Almost every intelligent traveller, who has visited 
Egypt for a century past, has made discoveries of 
more or less importance among the antiquities of that 
country, yet there is every reason to believe that a 
vast deal yet remains to reward further researches. 
Belzoni, in 1816, was the first to open the great tem- 
ple of Ipsambul, which is cut in the side of a moun- 
tain, and the front of which was so much encumbered 
with sand, that only the upper part of it was visible. 
A still greater discovery of this enterprising traveller 
was the opening of a splendid tomb in the Biban el 
Molouk, or Valley of the Tombs of the Kings. He 
found out by conjecture the right entrance, which had 
been blocked up for many centuries, caused it to be 
cleared, and at last made his way into the sepul- 
chral chambers, cut in the calcareous rock, and richly 
adorned with pictures in low relief, and hieroglyphics 
painted in the brightest colors. He also opened nu- 
merous sepulchres in the rocks at Gornou, at the foot 
of the Libyan mountains, near western Thebes, and in 
other places. 

In the interior of the temple of Carnac, he says, " I 



was lost in a mass of colossal objects, every one of 
which was more than sufficient of itself to attract my 
whole attention. How can I describe my sensations 
at that moment ! I seemed alone in the midst of all 
that is sacred in the world ; a forest of enormous 
columns, adorned all round with beautiful figures and 
various ornaments, from the top to the bottom ; the 
graceful shape of the lotus which forms their capitals, 
so well proportioned to the columns that it gives to the 
view the most pleasing effect ; the gates, the walls, 
the pedestals, and the architrave, also adorned in every 
part with symbolical figures in basso relievo, and intag- 
lio, representing battles, processions, triumphs, feasts, 
offerings, and sacrifices, all relating, no doubt, to the 
ancient history of the country, — the various groups 
of ruins of the other temples within sight ; these alto- 
gether had such an effect upon my soul as to separate 
me in imagination from the rest of mortals, exalt me 
on high over all, and cause me to forget entirely the 
trifles and follies of life. I was happy for a whole 
day, which escaped like a flash of lightning ; but the 
obscurity of the night caused me to stumble over one 
large block of stone, and to break my nose against 
another, which, dissolving the enchantment, brought 
me to my senses again." 

The catacombs of Beni Hassan are among the finest 
and most interesting in Egypt. They were explored 
by the French scientific body, who accompanied Bona- 
parte in his expedition to that country, in 1799. The 
walls of the interior are covered with paintings, many 
of which are in perfect preservation, and with the 
colors as vivid as if recently applied, while others have 



been defaced through the fanaticism or zeal of the 
Moslems, and probably of the early Christians. It is 
remarkable that the representations are almost entirely 
of a civil character, notwithstanding the solemn pur- 
poses to which the excavations appear to have been 
consecrated. The natives, as usual, assign the origin 
of these works to the genii. Thebes, Edfu, Denderah, 
and many other places also, abound with the most in- 
teresting monuments of Egyptian art in painting and 
sculpture, by which the genius of this extraordinary 
people is illustrated in a manner unequalled in the an- 
tiquities of any other nation upon the globe. 

The researches of the French, and of Belzoni, Cham- 
pollion, Rosellini, Wilkinson, and others, have put us 
in possession of a series of sketches evidently drawn 
from the life, and wonderfully descriptive of the arts, 
industry, and habits of the Egyptians. The singular 
propensity of that people to decorate their tombs with 
the lavish splendor which other nations have reserved 
for the palaces and temples of the living, is one of the 
most strange and inexplicable among all the phenome- 
na in the history of man. Many of these highly 
adorned sepulchral chambers appear to be accessible 
only through long, narrow, and intricate passages. 
The approach to others seems to have been closed 
with the strictest care, and concealed with a kind of 
reverential sanctity. To each city or district belonged 
a city of the dead. In the silent and rock-hewn coun- 
terparts of Memphis and Thebes, were treasured up 
all the scenes in which the living king and his subjects 
had been engaged. Egypt is full of immense tombs, 
and their walls, as well as those of the temples, are 



covered with the most extraordinary paintings, exe- 
cuted thousands of years ago. In these paintings, the 
whole country, with all its natural productions, its ani- 
mals, birds, fishes, and vegetables, and the people in all 
their private and domestic occupations, are delineated, if 
not in the first style of art, yet with that which renders 
them still more curious and valuable, an apparent Chi- 
nese fidelity of outline, and an extraordinary richness 
of coloring. 

The veil has thus been lifted, which hid the antiquity 
of three and four thousand years. A subterranean 
Egypt has suddenly come to light; the people have 
been revived in all their castes ; in their civil, and mil- 
itary, and religious occupations ; in their fields and 
their vineyards ; in their amusements and their labors ; 
in their shops, their farm-yards, and their kitchens ; by 
land and by water ; in their boats and their palanquins ; 
in the splendid public procession, and the privacy of 
the household chamber. The principle of devoting so 
much cost and toil to the tombs of departed monarchs, 
which probably gave rise to the construction of the pyr- 
amids, once admitted, the decoration of the walls with 
paintings of religious processions, or legends of the 
glory of the deceased, may be more easily accounted 
for. The care, the skill, and the expense lavished on 
the embalming of the perishable body, is in perfect 
unison with this preparation of a splendid and durable 
dwelling for the remains which were to be immortal- 
ized by every means in human power. Still there is 
something unaccountable in this practice of delineating 
every occupation of life in the habitations of the dead. 
We comprehend the gradual expansion of that feeling, 
from which the " poor Indian," who 



" thinks, admitted to that equal sky, 
His faithful dog shall bear him company," 

is buried with his bow and arrow, and with the com- 
panion of his hunter life. Hence, among the Hindoos, 
the Geta?, and the Goths, it was the custom to entomb 
the steed, the captive, and the wife, with the deceased, 
the living with the dead, under the vast sepulchral 
mound. If the Egyptian paintings were intended 
merely to distinguish the rank, the profession, or the 
occupation of the deceased, — the warlike scene in the 
tomb of the soldier, scenes of rural labor in that of the 
peasant or agriculturalist, — their purport would be 
evident. But many of the tombs appear to be deco- 
rated with every kind of device, and there seems to 
have been an almost deliberate design to make this 
subterranean world a complete picture of the world 
above. The whole question is a profound and impen- 
etrable mystery. Of all the learned and ingenious 
writers on the subject, no one has succeeded in tracing, 
with satisfactory perspicuity, the fine and subtile, yet 
strong and enduring thread, which connected the ex- 
traordinary honors paid by the Egyptians to their dead, 
with the rest of their religious creed. The ancient 
writers state the fact, rather than solve the difficulty. 
Diodorus Siculus informs us, that "the natives of 
Egypt consider the present life as altogether of slight 
importance, but the existence after death, when celeb- 
rity has been obtained by virtue, they estimate at a 
much higher value, and they call the dwellings of the 
living places of sojourn, since we inhabit them so 
short a time ; but the sepulchres of the dead they call 
eternal mansions, since in Hades we live for an in- 



terminable period. Wherefore they take little care as 
to the building of their houses, but bestow every degree 
of magnificence upon their sepulchres." 

Whoever is curious to know what a few years since 
would have been deemed a portion of knowledge utter- 
ly beyond the reach of man, namely, how the ancient 
Egyptians, the primeval inhabitants of the valley of the 
Nile, in an age before the invention of letters, wor- 
shipped their gods, and warred with their enemies ; 
how they were armed and disciplined ; how they be- 
sieged and stormed cities ; how they judged in courts 
of law, feasted, and buried their dead ; how they danced, 
and sang, and played on instruments of music, and 
wrestled and tumbled ; how they ploughed, and sowed, 
and reaped, and gathered fruit, and cultivated the vine, 
and plucked the grapes, and trampled them in the 
wine-press ; how they built houses, and made bricks, 
and drew enormous weights, and clove wood, and prac- 
tised carpentry in all its branches ; how they hunted, 
and shot, and snared birds, and caught fish ; how they 
killed, and cooked, and served up their dinners, and 
ate, and drank, and got tipsy ; how the ladies dressed 
their hair, and painted, and gossiped, and flirted, and 
held their nosegays ; how they furnished their houses, 
laid out their gardens, built and rigged their boats and 
barks, and rowed and sailed upon the Nile, — may . 
find all these things depicted with the most wonderful t 
accuracy on the walls of the Egyptian tombs, a more 
faithful and permanent record of facts than hundreds 
of libraries. The Egyptian was determined to make 
his sepulchre, his more lasting mansion, as similar 
as possible to the temporary scenes through which 



his soul had passed in its course of transmigration in 
this state of being. To him Hades and the sepulchre 
were apparently the same. The conscious spirit, ac- 
cording to one theory, still inhabiting its undecaying 
body, was imagined to take pride in the stately halls, 
and corridors, and chambers, which formed its eternal 
palaces, — to survey its ancient occupations, and act 
over again, in untiring succession, the deeds of its brief 
earthly life. The prophets of Israel, as Bishop Lowth 
has shown, derived all the images of their Sheol, the 
dwelling of the departed, from their rock-hewn sepul- 
chres. The question, however, remains undecided, 
whether the representation we there find of actual 
life, from the palace of the prince to the cabin of the 
peasant, was meant to imply the consciousness of the 
inhabitant of these subterranean cities. 

Religion presided over, if it did not originally sug- 
gest, the care of the Egyptians for their dead. The 
whole art of embalming the body, the preparing, the 
bandaging, the anointing, in short, the whole process 
of forming the mummy, was a sacerdotal function. 
The difficulty is to ascertain the origin and the connec- 
tion of this remarkable practice — which, though it has 
prevailed in various forms in other countries, has never 
been so general, so national a usage, as in Ancient 
Egypt — with the religious dogmas and sentiment of the 
people. The origin may undoubtedly be traced to the 
local circumstances of the country. In Egypt, the 
burning of the dead, the only funeral practice besides 
burial which has prevailed to any extent, was im- 
practicable. Egypt produces little timber, and of its few 
trees, the greater part, the date, palm, and other fruit 



trees, are too valuable for common consumption. The 
burial of the dead was then the only method of dis- 
posing of them ; and, independently of the value of 
land for agricultural purposes, in the thickly peopled 
state of the country, the annual inundation of the Nile 
would have washed up the bodies, and generated pesti- 
lence. The chains of rocky mountains, on each side 
of the river, appeared to be designed by nature for the 
sepulchres. Yet the multitudes of the dead could not 
safely be heaped together in a state of decomposition, 
even in the profoundest chambers of these rocks, with- 
out danger of breeding pestilential airs. From those 
fatal epidemic plagues, which now so perpetually deso- 
late the country, Ancient Egypt, by all accounts, was 
remarkably free ; and this was owing, without doubt, 
mostly to the universal practice of embalming the 
dead, which cut off one main source of noxious vapors. 
It was, in the first instance, then, a wise, sanatory regu- 
lation, and was subsequently taken up by the sacerdo- 
tal lawgivers, and incorporated with the civil and re- 
ligious constitution of the country. 

The lawgivers of the people, having recognized the 
necessity of this provision for the public health, took 
care to secure its universal and perpetual practice, by 
associating it with that one of the principal doctrines 
of religion which is most profoundly rooted in the heart 
of man, and which is of the most vital importance to 
the private welfare of each individual. They either 
taught the immortality of the soul, or found it a part 
of the general creed ; to this they added the metempsy- 
chosis, or transmigration of the soul. According to this 
belief, every spirit, on its departure from the body, must 



pass through a long predestined cycle, entering succes- 
sively into the bodies of various animals, until it return 
in peace to its original dwelling. Whenever that body 
which it had last left became subject to corruption, the 
course of its migrations was suspended, the termination 
of its long journey and its ardently desired return to 
higher worlds was delayed. Hence every care was 
taken to preserve the bodies, not only of men, but of 
animals, and to secure them for ever from perishing 
through putrefaction. The greatest attention was be- 
stowed upon this work, which was enforced by severe 
and sacred laws. Certain orders of the priesthood 
were expressly intrusted with its due execution. It was 
solemnly performed with religious rites and proces- 
sions, and the piety and interest of each individual took 
part in the ceremony. Herodotus informs us, that 
whenever a body was found seized by a crocodile, or 
drowned in the Nile, the city, upon whose territory 
the body was cast, was compelled to take charge of it, 
and to cause it to be embalmed and placed in a sepul- 
chre. After having accomplished its revolution of 
three thousand years, the soul returned again, accord- 
ing to the Egyptian doctrine, to the human body. 

It is difficult to define, and still more so to explain, 
the interest which we feel in tracing the manners and 
customs of remote ages. Why do we care to know 
how the Egyptians ate and drank, and ploughed and 
reaped, and warred and hunted ? Why are we almost 
equally entertained by discovering points of resem- 
blance and points of total dissimilitude ? that they sat 
down to dinner like ourselves, and ate with their fin- 
gers like Turks ? that they traded in all kinds of com- 



modities, but had no money ? The only answer we j 
can give is, that it is a law of our being. Such have ! 
been, such are still the indelible propensities of human j 
nature, and such will be to the end of time. In no 
Other instance can this species of curiosity receive I 
such ample gratification as in the Egyptian paintings. \ 
Pompeii itself does not give so extensive and various a j 
view of the every-day occupations of the Romans as i 
the catacombs of Egypt do of that primeval people. . 
Pompeii was a comparatively small, elegant, and luxu- 
rious town, with all its houses, temples, theatres, baths, 
and tombs. It affords us a perfect insight into the j 
ordinary way of living in a Campanian city of its class. 
The forms of the dwellings, the arrangement of the 
chambers, the utensils of various kinds, whether for 
household use or amusement, seem stored away as if 
by express design, and carefully wrapped up in the 
ashes and scoriae, which cover the city, for the wonder 
of later ages. But the paintings on the walls, ex- j 
quisitely graceful as they are, are, in general, on well || 
known mythological subjects. They rarely, except in 
a few comic pieces, descend to ordinary life. The I 
pictures of the Isiac worship are very curious, and the 
landscapes show more knowledge of perspective than \ 
the painters of that age had been supposed to possess ; \ 
but they are still poetic and imaginative, rather than j 
faithful representations of real scenes. In the cata- ■ 
combs of Egypt, on the other hand, every act of every j 
department of life seems to have been carefully copied ; | 
and the imperfection of the art of design increases, 
rather than diminishes, the interest of the pictures, as 1 
they evidently adhere with most unimaginative fidelity | 


to the truth of nature. The following is a representa- 
tion of an Egyptian king. 

The tombs of the rich consisted of one or more 
chambers, ornamented with paintings and sculpture ; 
the place and size of which depended on the expense 
incurred by the family of the deceased, or on the 
wishes of the individuals who purchased them during 
their lifetime. They were the property of the priests ; 
and a sufficient number being always kept ready, the 
purchase was made at the shortest notice, nothing be- 
ing requisite to complete even the sculptures or in- 
scriptions but the insertion of the name of the deceased, 



and a few statements respecting his family and profes- 
sion. The numerous subjects representing agricultural 
scenes, the trades of the people, in short, the various 
occupations of the Egyptians, were already introduced. 
These were common to all tombs, varying only in their 
details and the mode of their execution, and were in- 
tended, perhaps, as a short epitome of human life, 
which suited equally every future occupant. In some 
instance all the paintings of the tomb were finished, 
and even the small figures representing the tenant were 
introduced, those only being left unsculptured which 
were of a larger size, and consequently required more 
accuracy in the features, in order to give his real por- 
trait ; and sometimes even the large figures were com- 
pleted before the tomb was sold, the only parts left 
unfinished being the hierogiyphical legends containing 
his name and that of his wife. Indeed, the fact on 
their selling old mummy-cases, and tombs belonging to 
other persons, shows that they were* not always over- 
scrupulous about the likeness of an individual, provided 
the hieroglyphics were altered and contained his real 
name ; at least when a motive of economy reconciled 
the mind of a purchaser to a second-hand tenement for 
the body of his friend. 

The tomb was always prepared for the reception of 
a husband and his wife. Whoever died first was buried 
at once there, or was kept embalmed in the house I 
until the decease of the other. The manner in which j" 
husband and wife are always portrayed, with their » 
arms around each other's waist or neck, is a pleasing I 
illustration of the affectionate temper of the Egyptians ; 4 
and the attachment of a family is shown by the pres- 1 



ence of the different relatives, who are introduced in 
the performance of some tender office to the deceased. 

Besides the upper rooms of the tomb, which were 
ornamented by the paintings we have described, there 
were pits, varying from twenty to seventy feet in depth, 
at the bottom and on the sides of which were recesses, 
like small chambers, for depositing the coffins. The 
pit was closed with masonry after the burial, and some- 
times reopened to receive the other members of the 
family. The upper apartments were richly ornament- 
ed with painted sculptures, being rather a monument in 
honor of the deceased than his sepulchre ; and they 
served for the reception of his friends, who frequently 
met there and accompanied the priests when perform- 
ing the services for the dead. Tombs were built of 
brick or stone, or hewed in the rock, according to the 
position of the Necropolis. Whenever the mountains 
were sufficiently near, the latter was preferred ; and 
these were generally the most elegant in their design 
and the variety of their sculptures. The sepulchres 
of the poorer classes had no upper chamber. The cof- 
fins were deposited in pits in the plain, or in recesses 
at the side of a rock. Mummies of the lower orders 
were buried together in a common repository ; and 
the bodies of those whose relations had not the means 
of paying for their funeral, after being merely cleansed 
and kept in an alkaline solution for seventy days, were 
wrapped up in coarse cloth, in mats, or in a bundle of 
palm sticks, and deposited in the earth. 

The funeral of Nophri-Othph, a priest of Amun, at 
Thebes, is thus described on the walls of his tomb ; 
the scene lies partly on the lake, and partly on the way 



from the lake to the sepulchre. First came a large 
boat, conveying the bearers of flowers, cakes, and nu- 
merous things appertaining to the offerings, tables, 
chairs, and other pieces of furniture, as well as the 
friends of the deceased, whose consequence is shown 
by their dresses and long walking-sticks, the peculiar 
mark of Egyptian gentlemen. This was followed by 
a small skiff, holding baskets of cakes and fruit, with a 
quantity of green palm-branches, which it was custom- 
ary to strew in the way as the body proceeded to the 
tomb, the smoothness of their leaves and stalks being 
particularly well adapted to enable the sled to glide 
over them. In this part of the picture we discern the 
love of caricature which was common to the Egyptians 
even in the serious subject of a funeral. A large boat 
has run aground and is pushed off the bank, striking a 
smaller one with its rudder, and overturning a large 
table, loaded with cakes and other things, upon the 
heads of the rowers seated below, in spite of all the 
efforts of a man in the prow, and the earnest vocifera- 
tions of the alarmed helmsman. 

In another boat, men carried bunches of flowers and 
boxes supported by yokes on their shoulders. This 
was followed by two others, one containing the male 
and the other the female mourners, standing on the 
roof of the cabin, beating themselves, uttering cries, and 
making other demonstrations of excessive grief. Last 
came the consecrated boat, bearing the hearse, which 
was surrounded by the chief mourners and the female 
relatives of the deceased. Arrived at the opposite 
shore of the lake, the procession advanced to the cat- 
acombs. On their way, several women of the vicinity, 



carrying their children in shawls, suspended at the side 
or back, joined in the lamentation. The mummy was 
placed erect in the chamber of the tomb ; and the sis- 
ter, or nearest relation, embracing it, commenced a 
funeral dirge, calling on her relative with every ex- 
pression of tenderness, extolling his virtues and be- 
wailing her own loss. The high priest presented a 
sacrifice of incense and libation, with offerings of cakes 
and other customary gifts for the deceased ; and the 
men and women continued the wailing, throwing dust 
upon their heads, and making other manifestations of 

In another painting is represented the judgment of a 
wicked soul, which is condemned to return to earth in 
the form of a pig, having been weighed in the scales 
before Osiris and found wanting. It is placed in a 
boat, and, attended by two monkeys, is dismissed from 
heaven, all communication with which is figuratively 
cut off by a man, who hews away the ground behind 
it with an axe. 

In the extensive domains of wealthy landed proprie- 
tors, those who tended the flocks and herds were under 
the supervision of other persons connected with the 
estate. The peasant who tilled the land on which they 
were fed was responsible for their proper maintenance, 
and for the exact account of the quantity of food which 
they consumed. Some persons were exclusively em- 
ployed in the care of the sick animals, which were 
kept at home in the farm-yard. The superintendent 
of the shepherds attended, at stated periods, to give a 
report to the scribes belonging to the estate, by whom 
it was submitted to the steward, and the latter was 



responsible to his employer for this, as well as e very- 
other, portion of his possessions. In the painting we 
behold the head shepherd in the act of rendering in 
his account ; behind him are the flocks committed to 
his charge, consisting of the sheep, goats, and wild 
animals belonging to the person in the tomb. In one 
of the paintings, the expressive attitude of this man, 
with his hand raised to his mouth, is well imagined to 
convey the idea of his endeavour to recollect the num- 
bers which he is giving from memory to the scribes. 
In another, the numbers are written over the animals, 
and we have no contemptible picture of an Egyptian 

First come the oxen, over which is the number 834 ; 
then follow 220 cows, 3,234 goats, 760 asses, and 974 
sheep ; behind which, follows a man carrying the 
young lambs in baskets, slung upon a pole. The 
steward, leaning on his staff, and accompanied by his 
dog, stands on one side ; and on another are the 
scribes, making out the statement. In another paint- 
ing are men bringing baskets of eggs, flocks of geese, 
and baskets full of goslings. An Egyptian " Goose 
Gibbie " is making obeisance to his master, In anoth- 
er, are persons feeding sick oxen, goats, and geese. 
The art of curing diseases in animals, of every kind, 
was carried to great perfection by the Egyptians ; and 
the authority of ancient writers and paintings has been 
curiously strengthened by a discovery of Cuvier, who, 
finding the left shoulder of a mummied ibis frac- 
tured and reunited in a peculiar manner, proved the 
intervention of human art. 

All classes of the Egyptians delighted in the sports 



of the field, and the peasants deemed it a duty, as well 
as an amusement, to hunt and destroy the hyena and 
other wild animals, from which they suffered arfnoy- 
ance. The hunting scenes are very numerous among 
their paintings, and the devices for capturing birds and 
beasts seem to have been as various as they are in 
modern times. The hyena is commonly represented 
caught in a trap. 

Wild oxen were caught by a noose or lasso, precise- 
ly as the South Americans take horses and cattle, 
although it does not appear that the Egyptians had the 
custom of riding on horseback when they used it ; and 
from the introduction of a bush in the following picture 



immediately behind the man who has thrown it, w T e 
may suppose the artist designed to show that the hunts- 
man was concealed. Hounds were also used to pur- 
sue game, as may be perceived from the subjoined 
representation of a huntsman carrying home his prey. 

All the operations of agriculture, farming, breeding 
cattle, &c, are depicted in these drawings with the 
most curious fidelity and minuteness. In the accom- 
panying sketch is seen an ox lying on the ground, 
with his legs pinioned, while a herdsman is branding a 
mark upon him with a hot iron, and another man sits 
by, heating an iron in the fire. The pictures give us 
the whole history of Pharaoh's kine, who are usually 
copied after the fattest, rather than the leanest, speci- 
mens. From one of them it appears, that the Egyp- 



tian monarch was himself a pretty extensive grazier, 
as we find the king's ox marked 86. In another we have 
a regular cattle-show, and in another the veterinary 
art in actual operation ; cattle-doctors are exhibited 
performing operations upon sick oxen, bulls, deer, 
goats, and even geese. It is a singular fact, which 
will amuse the reader not a little, that the hieroglyphic 
which denotes a physician is that well known domestic 
bird whose cry is " quack ! quack ! " 

Among the trades represented is glass-blowing. The 

form of the bottle and the use of the blow-pipe are 
unequivocally indicated ; and the green hue, in the 
painting, of the fused material, taken from the fire at 
the point of the pipe, cannot fail to show the intention 
of the artist. Until within a few years the belief was 
universal, that the ancients were unacquainted with the 



manufacture of glass ; but it is now indisputable, that 
ornaments and vases of glass were made in Egypt 
1490 years before the Christian era. 

The use of the spindle and loom, sewing, braiding, 
&c, form the subjects of many of the paintings, as also 
the process of cultivating flax, beating and combing it. 
The following is a figure of a hatchel or flax-comb. 

We have also the process of currying leather, and the 



operation of shoe-making. Not less curious is the 
business of chair-making in all its details. The Egyp- 

tian chairs of which we have a great variety of repre- 
sentations, were not inferior in elegance to any thing 
of the kind at the present day. In the accompanying 
sketch, we see the workmen drilling a hole in the seat 
of a chair. The shape of the drill and bow may be 

seen in the next cut. 





Upper Egypt to Thebes. A large tribute is described 
in another part of the picture, as brought from her 
countrymen, the " Cush," or Ethiopians, which seems 
to show that it relates to a visit of ceremony from the 
queen or princess of that country. The chariot is 
drawn by oxen, a mode of conveyance in use at this 
day in Southern Africa. 

That the Egyptians paid great attention to the study 



Of music, and had arrived at a very accurate knowledge 
of the art, is evident from the instruments which they 
used. Their drawings represent the harp, the guitar, 
the tambourine, the lyre, the flute, the pipe, and other 
instruments difficult to describe. Bands of music gen- 
erally compose a part of the representation of a feast 
or entertainment, and musicians are exhibited singing, 
playing, and dancing in the street. These musical in- 

struments were in common use at the earliest periods 
of the known history of the Egyptians. The game of 
chess, or draughts, appears to be of equal antiquity, 


and is very accurately represented in the preceding 
cut. Some of the Egyptian female sports were rather 
of a hoydenish character, as the game of ball, in one 

• m 

picture of which we are instructed that the loser was 
obliged to suffer another to ride on her back. Some 


of these identical balls have been found in the tombs 

at Thebes. Wooden dolls for children have also been 
discovered of various fashions, some of them precisely 
similar to those in use among us, and others of a dif- 
ferent shape, like the following. 



The Egyptian shops exhibited many curious scenes. 
Poulterers suspended geese and other birds from a pole 
in front of the shop, which, at the same time, support- 

ed an awning to shade them from the sun. Many of 
the ghops resembled our stalls, being open in front, 
with the goods exposed on the shelves or hanging from 
the inner wall, as is still the custom in the bazars of 
the East. The kitchens afford scenes no less curious. 
In the following cut we see a cook roasting a goose ; 
he holds the spit with one hand, and blows the fire 

with ,a fan held in the other. A second person is cut- 



ting up joints of meat and putting them into the pot 
which is boiling close at hand. Other joints of meat 
are lying on a table. 

Monkeys appear to have been trained to assist in 
gathering fruit ; and the Egyptians represent them in 

the sculptures handing down figs from the trees to the 
gardeners below ; but, as might be expected, these 
animals amply repaid themselves for the labor imposed 
upon them, and the artist has not failed to show how 
much more they consulted their own wishes than those 
of their employers. The following is a representation 


of a wine-press, in which the grapes are squeezed in a 
bag. It will be interesting to compare this with a 
picture copied from the wall of a house in Pompeii, 
representing the vintagers treading the grapes with 
their feet. 

The Egyptians appear to have been addicted to a 
very liberal use of wine ; even the ladies do not seem 
to have practised total abstinence ; and there are scenes 
depicted in the paintings which our gallantry will not 
allow us to hint at more plainly, though they will per- 
haps dwell the most strongly in the memory of those 
persons who have seen the publications of Eosellini 
and Wilkinson. The Egyptian painters had something 
of a satirical turn. The import of the following 
f scrap," from the " last of a feast," cannot be mis- 



Among the peculiar articles of furniture, we may- 
specify the double chair, or diphros of the Greeks, 

usually kept as a family seat, and occupied by the 
master and mistress of the house, though occasionally 
offered, as a special honor, to the guests. The follow- 
ing drawing of an ottoman, or settee, is from the tomb 
of Rameses the Third. The Egyptian couches were 
also executed in great taste. They were of wood, with 
one end raised, and receding in a graceful curve ; the 



r °^o o o o o o. o o o o o o o o o o o3 
o o O O o o o 

.oo o o o o o o o o o o o O © O O OA 

U> O O O O Q C O Q Q Q Q fl n Q v j| 

O OOP o oob O 

feet, like those of many of the chairs, were fashioned 

to resemble those of animals. Pillows were made of 
wood, and sometimes of alabaster, in the following 




In the next engraving, we find two boats moored to 
the bank of the river by ropes and stakes. In the 
cabin of one, a man inflicts the bastinado on a boat- 
man. He appears to be one of the stewards of an 
estate, and is accompanied by his dog. In the other 
boat is a cow, and a net containing hay or chopped 
straw. There is a striking resemblance in some points 

between the boats of the ancient Egyptians and those 
of India. The form of the stern, the cabins, the] 
square sail, the copper eye on each side of the head, j 
the line of small squares at the side, like false win- 
dows, and the shape of the oars of boats used on the 
Ganges, forcibly call to mind those of the Nile, repre- 1 
sented in the paintings of the Theban tombs. 

The Egyptian needles were of the following fashion. 

They wrote with a reed, or rush, many of which have ] 
been found, with the tablets and inkstands belonging to 
the writers. Habits among men of similar occupa- 
tions are frequently alike, even in countries very 



widely separated ; and we find it was not unusual for 
an Egyptian artist, or scribe, to put his reed-pencil be- 
hind his ear, when engaged in examining the effect of 
the painting, or listening to a person on business, as in 
a modern counting-room. In the subjoined picture, we 
see a scribe at work with a spare pen behind his ear, 
his tablet upon his knee, and his writing-case and ink- 
stand on the table before him. 

The occupations of the mason, the stone-cutter, and 
the statuary are often alluded to in the paintings. Work- 
men are represented polishing and painting statues of 
men, sphinxes, and small figures ; and two instances 
occur of large granite colossi, surrounded with scaf- 
folding, on which men are engaged in polishing and 
chiselling the stone, the painter following the sculptor 
to color the hieroglyphics which he has engraved on 
the back of the statue. 



Among the remarkable inventions of a remote era, 
may be mentioned bellows and siphons. The former 
were used as early as the reign of Thothmes the Third, 
the contemporary of Moses, being represented in a tomb 



bearing the name of that Pharaoh. They consisted of 
a leather bag, sewed and fitted into a frame, from 
which a long pipe extended for carrying the wind to 
the fire. They were worked by the feet, the operator 
standing upon them, with one under each foot, and 
pressing them alternately, while he pulled up each ex- 
hausted skin by a string. (See the preceding cut) In 
one instance, we observe from the painting, that when 
the man left the bellows they were raised, as if full 
of air ; and this would imply a knowledge of the valve. 

The religion of Egypt does not derive so much new 
light from these discoveries, as most other points in re- 
lation to the manners of the people. The reason is ob- 
vious. All that paintings can communicate of religion 
is its outward forms and mythological representations. 
But with the outward forms of the religion, the names, 
attributes, and local worship of the various deities, we 
were before acquainted from statues and sculptures, 
and from the writings of the Greeks. It is the re- 
condite meaning of all this ceremonial, the secret of 
these mysteries, the key to this curious symbolism, 
which is still wanting. That it was a profound nature- 
worship, there appears to be no doubt. That the " wis- 
dom of the Egyptians," in its moral and political influ- 
ence upon the people, was a sublime and beneficial code, 
may be inferred from the reverence with which it is 
treated by the Greek writers ; by the awe-struck He- 
rodotus, who trembled lest he should betray the myste- 
ries, with which he was probably by no means pro- 
foundly acquainted ; by Plato himself, by Diodorus and 
Plutarch. That its groundwork was the great Oriental 
principle of the emanation of all things from the prime- 



val Deity seems equally beyond question. The worship 
of the sun, as the image or primary emanation of the 
Deity, is confirmed by almost all the inscriptions. 
But the connection of this sublime and more meta- 
physical creed with that which degenerated into the 
grossest superstition, the worship of quadrupeds, rep- 
tiles, and vegetables, remains still a sealed mystery. 

But although we gain little knowledge, in respect to 
the religion of the Egyptians, from her antiquities, they 
are exceedingly interesting on account of the light they 
throw upon parts of the Bible. Not only does a part 
of the history of the Hebrews lie in Egypt, but Pales- 
tine, their home and country, is but about 250 miles 
from it There was a good deal of intercourse be- 
tween the two nations, and the history of one naturally 
runs into that of the other. One instance, among 
many, in which the Bible record is illustrated and 
confirmed by the Egyptian antiquities, is as fol- 
lows. Among the animals mentioned in the Bible, as 
illustrative of the wisdom and power of Providence, is 
one called in Hebrew the Reem, a word which literally 
signifies " the tall animal." It is thus described in 
Scripture : " Will the reem be willing to serve thee, or 
abide by thy crib ? Canst thou bind the reem with his 
band in the furrow ? or will he harrow the valleys 
after thee ? Wilt thou trust him because his strength 
is great ? or wilt thou leave thy labor to him ? Wilt 
thou believe him, that he will bring home thy seed and 
gather it into thy barn?" (Job xxxix. 9-12.) Our 
translators have rendered the word reem, unicorn, 
which is absurd. Some commentators assert that it is 
the rhinoceros, or the buffalo, because the cognate 



Arabic word is sometimes applied to a species of ga- 
zelle, and the Arabs frequently speak of oxen and 
stags as one species. But neither the rhinoceros nor 
the buffalo can be called a tall animal, and the analogy 
between them and any species of gazelle with which 
we are acquainted would be very difficult to demon- 
strate. But we find upon the monuments an animal 
fulfilling all the conditions of the description, and that 
is the giraffe, which is represented several times among 

the articles of tribute brought to the Pharaohs from the 
interior of Africa. The preceding sketch represents 
one of these carvings. 

A most interesting proof of the accuracy and fidelity 



of the Bible narration is furnished by the following 
considerations. The artists of Egypt, in t e specimens 
which they have left behind, delineated minutely every 
circumstance connected with their national habits and 
observances from the cradle to the grave ; representing 
with equal fidelity the usages of the palace and the 
cottage ; the king surrounded by the pomp of state, 
and the peasant employed in the humblest labors of 
the field. In the very first mention of Egypt, we shall 
find the Scriptural narrative singularly illustrated and 
confirmed by the monuments. 

" And there was a famine in the land [of Canaan], and 
Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there, for the 
famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass, 
when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he 
said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that 
thou art a fair woman to look upon ; therefore it shall 
come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that 
they shall say, This is his wife ; and they will kill 
me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, 
thou art my sister, that it may be well with me for thy 
sake ; and my soul shall live because of thee. And 
it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into 
Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she 
was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw 
her, and commended her before Pharaoh, and the 
woman was taken into Pharaoh's house." (Gen. xii. 

Now let it be remembered that at present the cus- 
tom for the Egyptian women, as well as those of other 
Eastern countries, is to veil their faces somewhat in the 
manner here represented. Why, then, should Abram 



have been so anxious because the princes of Pharaoh's 
house saw his wife Sarai ? How, indeed, could they 
see her face, and discover that she was handsome, if 
she had been veiled, according to the custom of the 
country now ? The question is answered by the monu- 
ments, for here is a representation of the manner in 
which a woman was dressed in Egypt in ancient 

It seems, therefore, that they exposed their faces ; 



and thus the Scripture story is shown to be agreeable 
to the manners and customs of the country at the date 
to which the story refers. It is impossible to bring a 
more striking and conclusive proof of the antiquity and 
minute accuracy of the Bible record than this. 

The period at which the custom of veiling the faces 
of women was introduced into Egypt was probably 
about 500 years before Christ, when Cambyses, king 
of Persia, conquered that country. It was but natural 
that the conquered country should adopt the fashions 
of the conquering one, particularly as at this period 
Persia was an empire of great wealth and power, and 
likely to give laws not only in respect to government, 
but in respect to manners also. The probability, there- 
fore, that the Bible record was made previous to this 
event, even had we no other testimony, is very strong, 
from the fact that it relates, in the story of Abram 
and his wife, — a tale which implies a fashion that 
probably never existed in Egypt after the conquests 
of Cambyses. How wonderful it is, that these mute 
monuments, after slumbering in silence for ages, should 
now be able to add their indubitable testimony to the 
truth of that book which we hold to be the Word of 

The modern traveller, after viewing those stupen- 
dous piles of architecture, the pyramids, has his atten- 
tion attracted by the ruins of Thebes, whose enormous 
remains are now distributed among four principal vil- 
lages on both sides of the Nile, Luxor, Carnac, Gour- 
nei, and Medinet Abou. The relics of this great 
city are the most ancient and genuine, as well as the 
best specimens of Egyptian architecture extant ; for we 



have every reason to believe, that by far the greatest 
part of them were executed before Egypt had yet ex- 
perienced the influence of the Greeks, that is, long 
before the Persian invasion. The imposing spectacle 
exhibited by these wonderful ruins is such, that, when 
the French army on its march, on making a sharp turn 
round a projecting chain of mountains, came suddenly 
in sight of the spot, the whole body were instantane- 
ously struck with wonder and amazement, and clapped 
their hands with delight, as if the great object of their 
toils, and the complete conquest of Egypt, had been 
accomplished and secured by taking possession of the 
splendid remains of this ancient metropolis. " The 
most sublime ideas," says Belzoni, " that can be 
formed from the most magnificent specimens of our 
present architecture, would give a very incorrect pic- 
ture of these ruins ; for such is the difference, not only 
in magnitude, but in form, proportion, and construc- 
tion, that even the pencil can convey but a faint idea 
of the whole. It appeared to me like entering a city 
of giants, who, after a long conflict were all destroyed, 
leaving the ruins of their various temples as the only 
proofs of their former existence. The temple of Luxor 
presents to the traveller, at once, one of the most 
splendid groups of Egyptian grandeur. The extensive 
propylseon, with the two obelisks and colossal statues 
in the front, the thick groups of enormous columns, 
the variety of apartments, and the sanctuary it contains, 
the beautiful ornaments which adorn every part of the 
walls and columns, cause, in the astonished traveller, 
an oblivion of all that he has seen before. If his at- 
tention be attracted to the north side of Thebes by the 



towering remains that project a great height above 
the wood of palm-trees, he will gradually enter that' 
forest-like assemblage of ruins of temples, columns, 
obelisks, colossi, sphinxes, portals, and an endless 
number of other astonishing objects, that will convince 
him at once of the impossibility of a description." 


The race of the Ptolemies having ended, as we have 
seen, in Cleopatra, Egypt became a Roman province. 
On the partition of the Empire, it remained attached 
to the Eastern or lower Empire, whose capital was 
Constantinople. The Empire of the East lost Egypt 
to the Saracens at the first outbreak of Islamism, and 
the country was subjected to the sway of the Caliphs. 
But the power of those chiefs soon began to decline ; 
and in the year of Christ 879, Ammed, the governor 
of Egypt, usurped the sovereignty, and founded the 
government of the Sultans, who reigned over Egypt 
till 1249, when the Sultan, Turan, was assassinated by 
his Mamelukes, or Asiatic slaves, of whom a strong 
military body had been organized by one of his prede- 
cessors. From this period, or soon after, the govern- 
ment of Egypt remained in the hands of the Mame- 
lukes, who augmented and perpetuated their numbers 
by fresh purchases of slaves, and the monarchy was 
elective in this body. The Mamelukes progressive- 
ly raised the aristocracy above the throne, till about 
the year 1517, when Egypt was conquered by the 
Turkish Sultan, Selim the First. The power of the 



Mamelukes, however, was suffered to continue, and 
Egypt received a constitution, by which twenty-four 
of them, chosen among themselves, were intrusted, 
under the title of Beys, with the revenues and civil ad- 
ministration, subject to an annual tribute to the Otto- 
man Porte of 600,000 zechins, and the partial control 
of a Pacha, or governor. Under this form of govern- 
ment Egypt remained, nominally subject to the Porte, 
against whose authority the Beys frequently revolted, 
down to the French invasion in 1798. 

That expedition was planned by the Directory which 
then governed France, with a double view, — to open 
a way for attacking the British in India, and to remove 
Bonaparte, for a time at least, from France. The in- 
dependent behaviour of that general in his Italian cam- 
paign, his genius, and his ambition, which could not 
be entirely concealed under a studied simplicity of 
manners, rendered his presence dangerous to their 
authority. He, on the other hand, feared that an in- 
active life would diminish his own fame ; the world 
generally requiring of those whom it calls great some- 
thing more than they have yet performed. He regard- 
ed this scheme as a gigantic conception, an employ- 
ment agreeable to his taste, and a new means of aston- 
ishing mankind. The expedition was fitted out upon 
a grand scale. It consisted of thirteen sail of the line, 
with smaller ships of war and transports, comprising a 
fleet of several hundred sail. In this fleet embarked 
an army of 28,000 men, and a body of one hundred 
men of science, liberally supplied with books, philo- 
sophical instruments, and all the means of prosecuting 
researches in every department of knowledge. This is 



the first body of the kind that ever accompanied an 
invading army. Bonaparte did not limit his views to 
those of armed conquest ; he meant that these should 
be ennobled by mingling with them schemes of a liter- 
ary and scientific character. 

On the 18th of May, 1798, the expedition set sail from 
Toulon. On the 10th of June, they arrived before Mal- 
ta, which immediately surrendered. A British fleet, 
under Nelson, was in the Mediterranean, in search of 
Bonaparte ; but, by that good fortune which marked 
the whole of his early career, he escaped it, and 
reached the coast of Egypt, near Alexandria, on the 
29th of June. A violent storm prevailed, but Bona- 
parte, learning that the English fleet had been there 
only a short time previous, threw himself on the shore, 
at the risk of being wrecked. The troops were land- 
ed, marched all night, and the next morning 3,000 
French, harassed with fatigue, destitute of artillery, 
and with a small supply of ammunition, captured Alex- 
andria. In five days Bonaparte was master of Rosetta 
and Damanhour, and had obtained a secure footing in 
Egypt. He pushed immediately for the interior. Mu- 
rad Bey, with a large force of cavalry and a flotilla of 
gunboats on the Nile, attempted to check the advance 
of the French, but was defeated, and compelled to re- 
treat. After this, they marched for eight days without 
being molested, except by clouds of Arabs hanging 
upon their rear; but often reduced to the greatest 
straits, and under a scorching sun. On the 19th of 
July, they came in sight of the pyramids. 

As they prosecuted their march, they found their 
difficulties augmenting. Provisions were scarce ; they 



often encamped in immense fields of wheat, but the 
country afforded neither mill nor oven ; and they were 
compelled to subsist on pulse or parched grain. The 
general-in-chief and his staff often dined on nothing 
but a dish of lentils, and no one had a tent to shelter 
him. At length they came in sight of the intrenched 
camp of the enemy, comprising a force of 30,000 men. 
Here took place what is called the battle of the Pyra- 
mids, in the beginning of which Bonaparte addressed 
the soldiers in that striking apostrophe which has been 
so often quoted : u From the summits of those pyra- 
mids, forty centuries look down upon you." The 
Egyptians were defeated, with the loss of 10,000 men, 
and their artillery and baggage. Bonaparte made his 
triumphal entrance into Cairo on the 26th of July. 
The city contained a population of about 200,000. 
The populace, when they heard of the disasters of 
their own people, had set fire to the houses of the 
Beys, and committed all sorts of excesses. Bonaparte, 
on taking possession of Cairo, made every effort to 
ingratiate himself with the people. He gave strict 
orders that no insult should be offered to the Mahome- 
tan religion. He did not, as has been idly asserted, 
pretend to be a convert to it ; he merely avowed, what 
he probably felt, a high opinion of its founder, and 
treated its ceremonies with respect and decorum. Gen- 
eral Menou, however, in good earnest, turned Mahom- 
etan, and married a lady of Rosetta, whom he treated 
after the French modes of gallantry and politeness. 
He gave her his hand to enter the dining-room, the 
best place at table, and the choicest dishes ; if she 
dropped her handkerchief, he ran to pick it up. She 


related all these circumstances in the bath of Rosetta, 
where all the women meet ; and they, in hopes of a 
change in the national manners, signed a petition to 
Sultan Kabir, or the Fire -king, as they called Bona- 
parte, that their husbands should be obliged to treat 
them in the same manner. 

The Turkish Sultan, in the mean time, had issued 
an indignant manifesto, declaring war against France 
for having invaded one of his provinces, and prepared 
to send an army for the recovery of Egypt. On the 
22d of September, a popular insurrection broke out at 
Cairo, and great numbers of the French were mas- 
sacred. Bonaparte, who was absent, returned with 
troops, suppressed the insurrection, and issued a proc- 
lamation, in which, imitating the Oriental style, he 
told the Egyptians that he was the Man of Fate, who 
had been foretold in the Koran, and that any resistance 
to him was impious as well as unavailing, and that he 
would call them to account even. for their most secret 
thoughts, as nothing was concealed from him. The 
Turks began to assemble forces in Syria, and Djezzar, 
the Pacha of that province, was appointed to the com- 
mand. Bonaparte determined on an expedition to | 
Syria. In February, 1799, he crossed the desert with 
ten thousand men, captured El Arish and Gaza, and on 
the 7th of March he stormed Jaffa, which was bravely 
defended by several thousand Turks. A summons to 
surrender had been sent them, but they cut off the 
head of the messenger. Jaffa was taken and given up 
to plunder. About twelve hundred of the garrison ; 
were found to be Turkish troops made prisoners at El 
Arish, and who had been liberated on their parole not . 



to bear arms against the French for a year. For this 
violation of their parole, Bonaparte ordered them all to 
be shot ; a deed which, being grossly misrepresented 
and exaggerated by the English, was applied with 
great industry to blacken his character. 

The French, who were victorious at every other 
point, found an insurmountable obstacle to their progress 
at Acre, which was so resolutely defended by Djezzar, 
assisted by a body of English sailors, under Sir Sid- 
ney Smith, that Bonaparte, finding the siege protracted, 
and receiving alarming accounts from Egypt, gave 
over the design, and began his retreat on the 21st of 
May. This campaign cost him about 4,000 men ; 
but, had he succeeded at Acre, he would have become 
master of all Syria, and perhaps have threatened Con- 
stantinople. He returned to Cairo on the 14th of 
June. In the mean time, the whole French fleet had 
been captured or destroyed in the Bay of Aboukir, by 
Lord Nelson ; yet, considering the brilliant successes 
of the French by land, the reduction of Rosetta, Al- 
exandria, Damietta, and Cairo ; and, above all, the 
battle of the Pyramids, they had good ground for hope 
that many of the Arabs might be drawn over to the 
side of the conquerors. The Jews, as usual, were at 
the service of the best paymaster, beside the resent- 
ment which they must have felt at the treatment they 
received from the Turks. Among the other inhabitants 
of Egpyt, the Greeks and the Copts, though greatly 
humbled in their minds and in their fortunes, and the 
latter debased almost to brutality, by a long series of 
tyrannical oppressions, might yet be roused, by kinder 
treatment and better prospects, to a sense of national 



dignity and freedom. The clouded prospects of Bo- 
naparte were, therefore, on the whole, brightened up 
by gleams of hope sufficient to call the powers of his 
active and inventive mind into full exertion. 

The Egyptians, by nature a timid and effeminate 
race, were struck with terror at the first arrival of the 
French, nor did this feeling rapidly subside. They 
shut themselves up in their houses, and concealed their 
stores of provisions, so that, for many days, the French 
were reduced to great straits. But when the appre- 
hensions of the natives were removed by the good 
discipline of the French, provisions were furnished in 
the greatest abundance. The Delta was fully sufficient 
to supply all necessaries, which could be conveyed to 
the French magazines by the Nile or by canals. The 
old canal that conveyed the waters of the Nile to Al- 
exandria, and other canals, were cleared out and re- 
paired. Windmills' were constructed for grinding corn, 
the only mills known to the natives being hand-mills 
and a few worked by oxen. The want of wine was 
supplied by a spirit extracted from dates. At Alex- 
andria and Cairo, boards were instituted for inquiring 
into the best means for preventing contagious distem- 
pers, and for the general preservation of health ; the 
consequence of which was, that the sanitary condition 
of these cities was much improved. At Cairo, a the- 
atre was established, for the amusement of the French 
and the astonishment of the Egyptians. 

It was easy, however, to see that the French army 
must necessarily be diminished by the accidents of 
war, in process of time, unless supplied with fresh 
recruits. Napoleon, therefore, in imitation of the Ro- 



mans, and of Alexander the Great, whose examples 
were still before him, determined to range under his 
standard the inhabitants of the country, which, as yet, 
he had rather overrun, in part, than conquered. He 
allured into his service, by liberal pay, bodies of Arabs 
and Greeks, and even a company of Janizaries. An 
incident, which happened long after, may serve to 
show the impression he made on all around him, and 
even on fierce, barbaric minds. Twenty years subse- 
quent to this period, Doctor Antommarchi, on a voyage 
to visit Napoleon, then a captive and dying at St. He- 
lena, came in sight of Cape Palmas, on the western 
coast of Africa. The vessel kept near the shore, and 
presently a number of canoes were seen making 
towards her. They were light, swift, narrow, and 
low, managed by men squatting down, who struck the 
sea with their hands and glided over its surface. A 
wave or flaw of wind upset them, but, nimble as the 
fishes, they instantly turned their canoes upward and 
pursued their course. The vessel took in sail, and 
they were soon alongside. They brought provisions, 
which the crew received with thanks. 

" Where are you going ? " asked one of the Africans. 

" To Saint Helena," was the answer. 

This name struck him, and he remained some time 
motionless. At length he said in a dejected tone, 

" To Saint Helena ? — Is it true that he is there ? " 

u Who ? " demanded the captain. 

" The African cast a look of disdain at him," says 
Antommarchi, " came to us, and repeated the question. 
We replied that he was there. He looked at us, shook 
his head, and at length replied, 1 Impossible ! ' We 



gazed at one another, wondering who this savage could 
be, who spoke English and French, and had so high 
an idea of Napoleon. 

" ' You knew him, then ? ' we returned. 

" 6 Long ago.' 

" c You have seen him ? ' 

" ' In all his glory.' 

" ' And often ? ? 

" 1 In Cairo, the well defended city, — in the desert, — 
in the field of battle.' 

" ' You do not believe in his misfortunes.' 

" 6 His arm is strong ; his tongue sweet as honey ; 
nothing can resist him ; for a long time he has opposed 
all Europe. Not all Europe, nor the world, can over- 
come such a man. The Mamelukes and the Pachas 
were eclipsed before him, — he is the god of battles. 
Napoleon cannot be at Saint Helena ! ' 

" ; His misfortunes are but too certain. Exhaustion 
— disaffection — plots — ' 

" 6 All vanished at his sight ; a single word repaid us 
for all our fatigues ; our wishes were satisfied ; we 
feared nothing from the moment that we saw him.' 

u c Have you fought under him ? ' 

" 6 1 had been wounded at Coptos, and was sent back 
into Lower Egypt. I was at Cairo when Mustapha 
appeared on the coast. The army marched. I fol- 
lowed its movements, and was present at Aboukir. 
What precision ! What an eye ! What brilliant charges ! 
It is impossible that Napoleon has been conquered, — 
that he is at Saint Helena ! ' " 

Napoleon, while in Egypt, caused strict justice to be 
practised between man and man. He gave free pas- 



sage and protection to the pilgrims going to and from 
Mecca, and encouraged all kinds of commerce. To 
the predial slaves he gave land, to be cultivated on 
their own account. He granted equal rights of inher- 
itance to all the children of the same parents; and 
improved the condition of women, by giving them a 
certain portion of their husbands' property at their de- 
cease. He encouraged marriage between his soldiers 
and the natives, and endeavoured to restrain polygamy. 
He established schools for the instruction of the young 
French, Copts, and Arabs, in French, Arabic, geog- 
raphy, and mathematics. He was a friend to public 
shows, games, and other diversions ; in all which he 
labored to induce the French and the natives to mingle 
together. During the Syrian campaign, General Des- 
saix had driven the Mamelukes from Upper Egypt and 
beyond the cataracts of Assouan. Dessaix's army con- 
tained the French scientific corps, and Denon among 
the rest, who explored the monuments of Thebes, 
Dendera, Edfu, &c. We have already alluded to the 
effect produced upon the army by suddenly coming in 
sight of the ruins of Thebes. From the observations 
of Denon and his associates, a most magnificent work 
on Egypt was afterwards compiled, and published at 
the expense of the French government. 

What would have been the destiny of Egypt, had 
Napoleon remained longer in that country, it is difficult 
to conjecture ; but in the latter part of July, 1797, the 
Turks landed an army of 18,000 men at Aboukir, the 
defeat of which closed his Egyptian campaign. Im- 
mediately after this victory, he received such intelli- 
gence of the state of affairs in France as induced him 



to return without delay. He accordingly embarked at 
Alexandria, on the 18th of August, and arrived in 
France on the 9th of October. General Kleber was 
left in command ; but, being assassinated by one of the 
natives, his authority devolved upon General Menou. 
In 1801, the British sent an expedition to Egypt, under 
General Abercrombie, to drive out the French. It is 
unnecessary to detail the military events of this cam- 
paign further than to say, that they succeeded in their 
object, and in the summer of the same year Egypt 
was restored to the government of the Pacha. 

Although the expedition of the French to Egypt 
failed of its avowed purpose, yet it led to consequences 
of the highest importance, far from being anticipated 
at that time. It was the origin of that great civilizing 
movement which manifests itself at the present day in 
the East. It was not the sole mission of Napoleon to 
resuscitate Europe ; his Samson-like arm shook the 
pillars on which the u antique Orient " believed itself im- 
movably fixed ; and, in contemplating the great effects 
which his invasion of that quarter has produced, it is 
difficult to decide, whether his influence upon Europe 
has been greater than upon the East. The Egyptian 
expedition came like a thunderbolt upon that part of 
the world, and roused it from a sleep of centuries. 
Till then, its system had remained unchangeable, and 
inaccessible to any modification. The Ottoman empire 
had carried on, with diversity of fortune, long wars 
against Russia and Austria; but these conflicts had 
done nothing to dispel her antiquated ideas, or root out 
her established customs. Neither the Russians nor the 
Austrians brought civilization in the train of their ar- 



mies ; nor was it for their interest to spread its light 
among the Turks. The nations subject to the domin- 
ion of the Porte believed themselves invincible. The 
remembrance of their former conquests filled their 
memory. The high and exaggerated opinion which 
they entertained of their own strength and importance 
was necessarily strengthened by the conduct of the 
European powers themselves, who permitted, for a 
long course of years, a few miserable barbarian pirates 
to make war upon Europe with impunity, defy every 
nation, and impose ransom and tribute upon every 
government of Christendom. The power that first re- 
fused to pay tribute to the piratical states of Barbary 
was the United States of America ! 

The successes of the French in Egypt were calcu- 
lated to strike the imagination of the Mussulmans and 
fill them with astonishment. Thus instructed by expe 
rience to appreciate the military superiority of the peo- 
ple of the West, they were prepared to admit among 
themselves the experiment of European civilization. 
For an account of the individual who has been the 
main instrument in evolving from the event of the 
French invasion the mighty consequences which it was 
destined to produce, in relation to the Eastern world, 
we refer the reader to the following chapter. 

Mehemet Ali. 


Among the adventurers who resorted to Egypt to 
assist the Turks in their war against the French, was 
an Albanian soldier, who, by his courage, talents, and 
address, gradually forced himself into notice, and dis- 
tinguished himself so highly above all his competitors, 
that at length he rose to the supreme command, with the 
title of Pacha. This man was Mehemet Ali, the present 
sovereign of Egypt, who gained the high position in 
which he is now placed, through a thousand obstacles, 
which he either demolished by his courage, or evaded 
by his address. Of his early life he gave the following 
short sketch to Mr. Barker, the British consul-general 
in Egypt. " I was born in a village in Albania. My 
father had ten children besides me. They are all now 
dead, but, while living, not one of them ever thought 
of contradicting me. Although I left my native moun- 
tains before I attained to manhood, yet the principal 
people in the place never took any step in public busi- 
ness without previously inquiring what was my pleas- 
ure. I came to Egypt an obscure adventurer, and 
when I was yet but a bimbashi (captain), it happened 
one day that the commissary was to give each of the 



bimbashis a tent. They were all my seniors, and 
naturally claimed the precedence over me ; but the 
officer said, c Stand by, all of you ; this young fellow, 
Mehemet Ali, shall be served first.' And I was served 
first. I advanced step by step, as it pleased God to 
ordain, and now here I am," (rising a little on his seat, 
and looking out of the window, which was at his elbow, 
and commanded a view of the Lake Mareotis,) " and 
now here I am. I never had a master." With these 
words he glanced his eye at the roll containing the im- 
perial firman. 

One of the most formidable obstacles which he found 
in the way of his schemes for the improvement of the 
country, was the constant opposition of the Mamelukes. 
The plan which he adopted to rid himself of these an- 
tagonists, and the execution of it, have brought much 
obloquy upon his name. In 1811, he collected them 
by a stratagem in the citadel of Cairo, where they 
were massacred, as the janizaries were subsequently 
put to death at Constantinople.* In judging of transac- 
tions of this kind, we ought to take into consideration, 
not only all the relative circumstances of the opposing 
parties in the particular case, but the degree of justi- 
fication furnished by the existing state of the moral 
and political principles and practices which prevail in 
the country. The morals of the Mamelukes were ut- 
terly depraved ; they were, to the last degree, ra- 
pacious and cruel ; and their extirpation relieved the 
country from a great amount of suffering. Self-defence 
is the ground on which Mehemet Ali must rest his jus- 
tification of this act ; though we must admit that he 
resorted to treachery for its accomplishment. 



The Egyptian reformer must not be looked upon as 
an apostle either of morality or civilization. We may 
regard him as a man of genius, who, having learned 
nothing from the society in which he was brought up, 
and receiving no impulse from the people about him, 
has acted with great ability in building up and main- 
taining his own power. To preserve his authority, an 
army was necessary ; not an army after the Turkish 
fashion, a mere turbulent militia, dangerous to those 
who keep it in their pay, and whom it is supposed to 
protect, but an army subjected to the rigor of disci- 
pline, that would submit to the tactics of military sci- 
ence, and insure success in the field. The first object 
of Mehemet Ali was to obtain power, the second to 
consolidate and establish it on a firm basis ; and his 
great merit is that of having chosen and applied the 
best means of attaining those ends, the organization of 
regular troops. After having created a respectable 
army and navy, he turned his attention to the estab- 
lishment of schools, hospitals, &c. 

Mehemet Ali is the first Osmanlee who appears to 
have had just ideas of administrative government, and 
he is the first that has applied them in practice. The 
government of Egypt, it is true, is still absolute, in the 
strictest sense of the word ; but the Pacha has chosen 
to govern according to systematic forms and regula- 
tions. His administration is vastly more rational, or- 
derly, and humane, than that of the Mamelukes, or 
that of the old Pachas in the other dominions of the 
Porte. He has formed a council, consisting of his 
chief officers, and of the provincial and local governors 
and sheiks, whom he occasionally consults. He ad- 



ministers impartial justice to all his subjects, without 
regard to race or religion ; has established regular ju- 
dicial courts and a good police ; has abolished tortures 
and other barbarous punishments ; has encouraged in- 
struction, to a certain extent ; has removed most of the 
ignorant prejudices, which existed among his subjects, 
against the arts and learning of Europe ; and has in- 
troduced European manufactures and machinery. He 
keeps a printing-office and publishes a newspaper ; 
has formed schools and colleges for the arts and sci- 
ences, and for military and naval tactics. But the am- 
bition of the Pacha, and the difficulties of his situation, 
have obliged him to resort to two violent expedients, 
an enormous taxation and an oppressive conscription. 
Many of the subordinate agents of the government in 
the provinces still exercise occasional acts of capricious 
tyranny, which seldom reach their master's ears ; but 
when these become known, he is not slow in punishing 
the offenders, and redressing^ the grievances of the op- 

But the moral change which the Pacha has wrought 
among his subjects, though perhaps not so immediately 
palpable as those we have been considering, is much 
more extraordinary in itself, than all his military, po- 
litical, commercial, agricultural, and other improve- 
ments. He has attacked bigotry and fanaticism at 
their very source, and, by letting in the light of knowl- 
edge among his subjects, he has done more to over- 
turn the empire of a religion essentially hostile to hu- 
man improvement, than all the declared enemies of Ma- 
hometanism put together. Whether his political power 
will survive his death, and his empire be peaceably 



transmitted to his son, may be a doubtful question. But 
whatever may be the consequence of his reforms with 
regard to the stability of his dynasty, there is good 
reason to predict, that the impulse which he has given 
to the native population will not be lost, and that the 
seeds of improvement, scattered over Egypt, will 
spread, in course of time, to other portions of the Arab 
world, of which Egypt forms a central and most im- 
portant part. 

A recent traveller states, that Mehemet Ali was born 
in 1769, the same year which gave birth to Napoleon 
and Wellington. We are not disposed to give much 
faith to this statement ; for, as the Pacha never learned 
to read till after he was forty years old, it is probable 
that his own recollection of the year of his birth was 
not very clear ; and the wish must have been father to 
the thought of fixing the date as above. In person he 
is of middling size, and dresses very simply. He 
thinks much of his present reputation, and of the name 
which he will leave to posterity ; and has, for some 
years past, employed his leisure hours in writing his 
own history. He has the foreign newspapers trans- 
lated into Turkish for his perusal, and is not insensible 
to any calumnies which they contain against him. His 
activity is very great. In studying history, it is hardly 
necessary to say that the lives of Alexander the Great 
and Napoleon have given him the greatest satisfaction. 
He has always shown the utmost degree of toleration 
in religious matters, and, in spite of the prejudices of 
the people, has raised Christians to the rank of Bey, a 
thing before unheard of among Mussulmans. 


For the origin of this people, we must go back to 
the Phoenicians, whom we find, at a very early age, in- 
habiting the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. San- 
choniathon, of Berytus, in that country, who has been 
esteemed the most ancient author next to Moses, accord- 
ing to very learned critics, wrote the antiquities of Phoe- 
nicia about the time of Joshua, and traces his country- 
men back to the beginning of the world. Some striking 
rays of light beam through his fabulous cosmogony, as 
we see in most others which have been the production 
of human fancy. He mentions a dark chaos, and a 
Spirit which set the world in order ; but this is almost 
the only resemblance which his system bears to the Mo- 
saic history. He mentions a first man and a first wo- 
man, though very different from Adam and Eve, and 
ascribes the invention of arts to their descendants ; to 
one, the discovery of fire ; to another, the building 
of houses ; to others, hunting, fishing, the mechanic 
arts, &c. 

The Phoenicians are the people known in Scripture 
history as the Canaanites, and were celebrated from 
the earliest periods for their commerce and maritime 



enterprise. Living in a country comparatively barren, 
they were compelled to seek resources elsewhere ; 
and the poverty of their soil stimulated their activity, 
industry, and invention. 

The forests of Mount Lebanon, and the convenience 
of their harbours, were advantages which they were not 
slow in improving. It is believed that their commerce 
became extensive a few generations after the period 
assigned as the epoch of the deluge ; this is the more 
remarkable, when we consider the rude state of the 
mechanic arts, and the difficulties of navigation in that 
age. While the Egyptians beheld the sea with a su- 
perstitious horror, the Phoenicians had the courage to 
adventure boldly upon it, and to traverse every part of 
the Mediterranean with no other guide than the stars. 

They planted numerous colonies in the islands of 
Cyprus, Rhodes, and Malta, in Greece, Sicily, and 
Sardinia. They visited the southern coast of Spain, 
passed the Straits of Gibraltar,* and penetrated into the 
Atlantic. Cadiz, which owed its foundation to them, be- 
came a flourishing commercial mart, and they drew 
immense wealth from Spain, which, in those ages, 
abounded with the precious' metals. Silver was so 
plentiful among them, that the anchors of their ships 
were said to be made of it. Six hundred years before 
Christ, they are believed to have circumnavigated Af- 
rica, by sailing down the Red Sea and returning through 
the Straits of Gibraltar ; a voyage which was accom- 
plished in three years. 

The Phoenicians were celebrated for their skill in 
manufactures, especially in the article of cloth. The 
Phoenician or Tyrian dye, used by them, was unrivalled 


for its beauty. This brilliant color was discovered by 
accident. A dog having made his dinner of a certain 
shell-fish, common on the sea-shore in that quarter, his 
lips became dyed of so beautiful a purple as to attract 
notice ^ and this led to the adoption of that material in 
coloring cloth. The invention of letters has also been 
ascribed to the Phoenicians ; and it is indisputable, that 
the Hebrew alphabet, the oldest extant, made its ap- 
pearance in that country. A singular remnant of this 
famous people may be found in the island of Malta, 
which was colonized by them at a very remote period, 
and has retained its primitive population, with little 
admixture of Roman, Saracenic, or Gothic blood, down 
to the present day. 

The Phoenicians founded Carthage, about a century 
before the building of Rome. Most ancient writers 
agree in following an old story, or tradition, to the fol- 
lowing purport : — Pygmalion, king of Tyre, having 
put to death the husband of his sister Dido, or Elissa, 
that he might seize upon his immense riches, that prin- 
cess took to flight, carrying all her treasure with her , 
and, coasting along the northern shore of Africa, ar- 
rived at a peninsula between Tunis and Utica, at which 
places settlements had been previously made by the 
Phoenicians. Here she purchased or hired a piece of 
ground upon which to build a city. The place was 
first named Betzura, or Bosra, "the Castle," which 
the Greeks corrupted into Byrsa, this name mean- 
ing, in Greek, a hide ; and perhaps the shape of the 
peninsula gave rise to the story of Dido's "Yan- 
kee trick," which was this. She made a bargain 
with the Libyans for so much ground as could be 



« * 

covered by an ox's hide, which seemed a very advan- 
tageous one to the owners. But the crafty princess 
cut the hide into narrow thongs, and encompassed a 
large tract of territory. Although we do not vouch 
this tale to be true, at the same time no one knows it 
to be false. 

The place thus built soon became known by the 
name of Carthage, or Carthada, the " new city." Of 
its early history, during more than three centuries, we 
know very little. The tragical story of its celebrated 
founder has been embellished by the genius of Virgil ; 
but the historian Justin relates the catastrophe in the 
following manner : — larbas, king of the Mauritanians, 
sending for ten of the principal Carthaginians, demand- 
ed Dido in marriage, and threatened her with a war in 
case of refusal. The ambassadors, dreading to deliver 
this message to the queen, artfully made her believe 
that he wished for some Carthaginians to civilize his 
subjects ; but no one could be * found willing to under- 
take this work. The queen, in an indignant speech, 
asked if they were not ashamed to decline devoting 
themselves in any manner which might be beneficial 
to their country ? They then informed her of the de- 
mand of larbas, and bade her set them a pattern, and 
sacrifice herself to her country's welfare. Dido, being 
thus ensnared, called on her departed husband, Sichseus, 
with tears and lamentations, and avowed that she 
would go where the fate of her city called her. At 
the expiration of three months, she sacrificed herself 
on a funeral pile. 

The constitution of Carthage was considered by the 
ancients as a pattern of political wisdom. Aristotle 



highly praises it, and recommends it as a model to 
other states. He informs us that during the space of 
five centuries, that is, from the foundation of the re- 
public down to his own time, no tyrant had overturned 
the liberties of the state, and no demagogue had stirred 
up the people to rebellion. By the wisdom of its laws, 
Carthage had been able to avoid the opposite evils of 
aristocracy, on the one hand, and democracy on the 
other. The nobles did not engross the whole power, 
as was the case in Sparta, Corinth, and Rome, and, in 
more modern times, in Venice ; nor did the people 
exhibit the factious spirit of an Athenian mob, or the 
ferocious cruelty of a Roman rabble. 

There were three departments in the government. 
The first consisted of the suffetes^ the two chief magis- 
trates, resembling the consuls of Rome, who presided 
over the senate, and whose authority extended to mil- 
itary as well as civil affairs. The second was the sen- 
ate itself, composed of the illustrious men of the state. 
This body made the laws, declared war, negotiated 
peace, and appointed to all offices, civil and military. 
The third estate was still more popular. In the infancy 
and maturity of the republic, the people had taken no 
active part in the government ; but, at a later period, 
grown aspiring by wealth and prosperity, they advan- 
ced their claims to authority, and, before long, obtained 
nearly the whole power. They instituted a council, 
designed as a check upon the nobles and the senate. 
This body, which first exerted a salutary influence in 
the government, at length absorbed more than its due 
share of power, and its proceedings were characterized 
by tyranny and oppression. 



The Carthaginians inherited from their ancestors, the 
Phoenicians, the spirit of commercial enterprise. The 
Mediterranean was covered with their fleets at a time 
when Rome could not boast of a single vessel, and her 
citizens were even ignorant of the form of a galley. 
They conquered Sardinia, and a great part of Sicily and 
Spain. Their powerful fleets and extensive conquests 
gave them the sovereign command of the seas, and 
their foreign policy was grasping, jealous, and arro- 
gant. Although essentially a commercial people, they 
were remarkably attentive to agriculture, and their 
wealthy citizens employed a great part of their riches 
in the cultivation of their estates. The country in the 
neighbourhood of Carthage, and, indeed, all that tract 
which formed its real territory, and which corresponds 
to the present state of Tunis, was beautifully cultivated 
and extremely fertile. When Agathocles landed in 
Africa, and when Regulus, half a century later, Scipio 
Africanus, half a century after that, and Scipio iEmil- 
ianus, another half century after that, invaded the 
Carthaginian territory, their march lay through rich 
fields covered with herds of cattle, and irrigated by 
numerous streams. Vineyards and olive-grounds were 
spread on every side ; innumerable small towns and 
villages were strewed over the country ; and, as they 
drew near to the " Great Carthage," the land was 
thickly studded with the country-seats of the wealthy 

The Carthaginians do not appear to have excelled in 
literature or the fine arts. No works of sculpture or 
painting, from their hands, have come down to us ; yet, 
when we reflect how assiduously the Romans, after 



they had subjected Carthage to their arms, labored to 
destroy every monument of her greatness, any relics 
of this nature could hardly be expected. Still, had she 
possessed any scientific or literary men of unquestion- 
able talent, something of their reputation must have 
survived, at least in the memory of mankind, and 
genius would have triumphed over malice, accident, 
and time. But the bustle of commercial enterprise, 
and the engrossing love of gain, probably opposed a 
serious barrier to the advance of the polite studies. The 
Romans, deadly and unrelenting enemies of these peo- 
ple, have represented them to us in the blackest colors. 
They are depicted as knavish, vicious, cruel, and su- 
perstitious. The Romans have sedulously kept back 
all the information which would have enabled us to 
judge of the truth or falsehood of their charges against 
the Carthaginians, who had no historians of their own. 

Yet, there is no doubt that their religion was con- 
taminated by superstitious and cruel rites. They offer- 
ed human victims to Saturn, even their own children ; 
and mothers, stifling the voice of nature, could, with 
tearless eyes, witness these horrid sacrifices. Gelon, 
king of Syracuse, having defeated the Carthaginians, 
imposed upon them, as a condition of granting them 
peace, that they should abolish human sacrifices ; but 
this part of the treaty was observed no longer than 
while they could not infringe it without danger. The 
soothsayers were consulted in every affair of conse- 
quence, and all their errors were rendered sacred by 

They seem to have deemed temperance a virtue. 
The magistrates abstained from wine while they con- 



tinued in office, and the soldiers were prohibited from 
drinking it while in the field. Though they were not 
a warlike nation, and employed mercenary troops, to 
save the blood of their citizens, yet they had a custom 
well calculated to nourish a military spirit. The sol- 
diers wore as many rings as they had served cam- 
paigns, and these were looked upon as honorable 
badges of distinction. Yet, in general, it appears, that 
the Carthaginians, immersed in mercantile pursuits, 
and regarding other objects as of little value, despised 
and neglected all such arts and sciences as did not 
tend to the augmentation of their wealth. At first, 
possessing a very limited territory in Africa, they are 
said to have been under the necessity of paying an 
annual tribute to the neighbouring barbarians for the 
land which they occupied. In process of time, having 
subdued most of the native powers, they seized upon 
the whole of Northern Africa, and extended their boun- 
daries to the Pillars of Hercules. 

Hanno, a Carthaginian navigator, was despatched on 
an expedition to circumnavigate Africa, and found col- 
onies along the coast. He sailed with a large fleet, 
carrying 30,000 colonists, and coasted along the west- 
ern shore of Africa, as far perhaps as Sierra Leone. 
He distributed his colonists in six settlements, and 
would have accomplished the whole of the scheme, 
had he not been compelled to return, by the failure of 
his provisions. It seems that the Carthaginians had 
discovered the Canary Islands and Madeira. In the 
descriptions of their commerce, we are told of a large 
island with rivers and forests ; the situation of which 
they kept concealed, as a state secret, intending it as a 



place of refuge in case of any great national catas- 

While Carthage possessed the dominion of the seas, 
a rival state was growing up in Italy, under whose 
arms she was destined to fall. The conquest of Spain 
and Sicily enabled the Carthaginians, for a long time, 
to keep the Roman power in check. In the first treaty 
between the two powers, it was expressly stipulated 
that the Romans should not enter the ports of Sicily. 
The first of the three bloody wars between these rival 
states, which are known in history as the " Punic 
Wars," resulted in the expulsion of the Carthaginians 
from Sicily and the Lipari Islands. This was followed 
by another war, nearly as disastrous to them. The 
mercenary troops who had served in Sicily, and who 
had been disbanded in Africa after the peace, without 
being paid, rose against their employers, and devasta- 
ted the country during several years, till they were 
nearly all exterminated. The Romans took advantage 
of this opportunity to seize Sardinia. A fierce and 
inextinguishable enmity to each other was now im- 
planted in both nations. In the second Punic war, 
Hannibal, the Carthaginian general, carried his arms 
to the very gates of Rome, and nearly succeeded in 
extinguishing that republic. But the tide of success 
soon turned. Scipio carried the war into Africa, and 
Carthage submitted, with the total loss of her power as 
an independent state. Spain, and all the settlements 
beyond Africa, were given up ; their immense fleets 
were surrendered to the Romans ; enormous sums of 
money were extorted from them ; and they stipulated 
not to make war without the permission of Rome. 



The sequel of the history of Carthage presents a 
melancholy and affecting picture of the humiliation and 
decline of a proud and powerful state. The Cartha- 
ginians kept the treaty faithfully, and bore patiently, 
during half a century, the insults of the Romans, and 
the arrogance of their ally, Masinissa, king of Nu- 
midia. At length, the encroachments of this chief 
caused a complaint to be laid before the Roman senate, 
who despatched a commission into Africa to inquire 
into the matter. Cato the elder was one of this body. 
That ruthless, inflexible old man inspected every part 
of the great commercial city of Carthage, and, being 
astonished at the sight of its still remaining wealth and 
magnificence, persuaded himself that nothing but its 
ruin could insure the supremacy of Rome. This belief 
kept full and permanent possession of his mind, and 
he never made a speech in the senate, upon any sub- 
ject whatever, without closing it with these words : — 
" Delenda est Carthago" — u Carthage must be de- 

Some of the senators, however, were men of more 
liberal views, and preferred lenient and conciliatory 
measures. Scipio Nasica, one of these, was appointed 
a commissioner to settle the Carthaginian affairs. He 
went to Carthage, and had nearly disposed of all con- 
troverted points, when a Carthaginian demagogue rous- 
ed the populace to assault him, and he was compelled 
to save himself by flight. The state, like all common- 
wealths in their decline, was distracted by factions, and 
soon became exposed to all the evils of popular tumult 
and civil war. This opportunity of completely crush- 
ing their ancient rivals was eagerly seized by the Ro- 



mans, who issued a declaration of war against them, 
and prepared to invade their country with an over- 
whelming force. The terrified Carthaginians attempt- 
ed to ward off the fatal blow by making the most 
humble submissions, and even offered to acknowledge 
themselves the subjects of Rome. The Roman senate, 
after some deliberation, promised to grant them their 
liberty, on condition that they should perform whatever 
was required of them by the consuls, and give up three 
hundred hostages. On this, the Carthaginians, appre- 
hending nothing, sent their hostages in perfect confi- 
dence, although a few of their most intelligent citizens 
suspected treachery. 

In the mean time, the consuls Marcius and Manilius 
arrived with a powerful army, and, with a great show 
of magnificence, gave audience to the deputies of 
Carthage, who came to know their intentions, and to 
complain of these demonstrations of hostility. " You 
are now under the protection of Rome," said the con- 
sul, u and have no longer any use for the arms with 
which your magazines are filled ; let them be given up 
to us, as a proof of your sincerity." The deputies 
replied, that Carthage was surrounded by enemies, and 
arms were necessary for their protection. The only 
answer to this remonstrance was, " Rome has under- 
taken to defend you ; therefore obey." Nothing was 
left to the Carthaginians but submission ; and they de- 
livered up the contents of their magazines, consisting 
of 200,000 complete suits of armor, 2,000 catapults, 
and an immense number of spears, swords, bows, and 
arrows. Having thus disarmed themselves, they wait- 
ed to hear the final sentence. 



The consuls then announced to them that their city 
was to be razed to the ground, and the inhabitants 
sent elsewhere for a residence. They were allowed 
to build their houses in any place ten miles distant 
from the sea, but they must be without any fortifica- 
tions. At this cruel and terrible announcement, the 
unfortunate Carthaginians were overwhelmed with sur- 
prise, astonishment, and indignation. The populace 
kindled into rage ; despair and frenzy succeeded, in 
every breast, to dejection and pusillanimity. A furious 
multitude burst into the senate-house, and laid violent 
hands on all the members who had advised or borne 
a part in the degrading submissions which had led to 
such a catastrophe. Every method, which despair 
could suggest, was put in requisition to provide for 
their defence, and replace the arms which they had 
so shamefully surrendered. They demolished their 
houses to supply the docks with timber. Palaces and 
temples were converted into workshops. Gold and 
silver vases and statues supplied the want of brass and 
iron. The women sacrificed their ornaments, and even 
cut off their hair to make cordage. 

The Romans, believing that a city without arms 
could make no resistance, attacked them without fear ; 
but they were repulsed, and their fleet was burnt by 
the Carthaginian fire-ships. Asdrubal, the Carthaginian 
general, would have cut the consular army in pieces, 
but for the skill of Scipio ^Emilianus, who succeeded 
in covering the retreat of the Roman legions with a 
body of cavalry. Under the conduct of this leader, 
the Romans again laid siege to Carthage. After a war 
of three years, famine reduced these wretched people 



to the necessity of again offering their submission, and 
they declared themselves ready to comply with any 
terms, except only the destruction of their city ; but 
the cruel determination of the senate was inflexible, 
and Scipio, not having it in his power to prefer hu- 
manity to revenge, was obliged to reject their offers. 
He gained possession of one of the gates by a strata- 
gem, and thus the Romans made their way into Car- 
thage. During six days, the inhabitants, animated by 
despair, continued to dispute the progress of the enemy, 
and successively set fire to the buildings, when com- 
pelled to abandon them. 

Of the 700,000 citizens of Carthage, 50,000 only 
survived the horrors of the siege. The city was given 
up to pillage, and set on fire. Asdrubal basely stooped 
to beg his life ; while his wife, loading him with re- 
proaches, stabbed her children, and then threw herself 
into the flames. After burning for seventeen days, 
this great city, the model of beauty and magnificence, 
the repository of immense wealth, and one of the chief 
states of the ancient world, was no more. The de- 
struction of Carthage, previously resolved upon in cold 
blood, after fifty years of peace, and without any fresh 
provocation from the defenceless people, who had 
thrown themselves upon the generosity of their rivals, 
was one of the most hard-hearted and brutal acts of 
Roman policy. 

This catastrophe occurred in the 143d year before 
the Christian era. Thirty years afterward, the Ro- 
mans attempted to establish a colony upon the ruins 
of Carthage ; but it made little progress till Julius Cae- 
sar and Augustus sent colonists thither. A new town 



was then built, called Colonia Carthago, occupying but 
a small part of the site of the old city. It rose af- 
terwards to considerable eminence, and became the 
chief city of Roman Africa. In Christian history, it is 
known for its councils and for the spiritual labors of 
St. Augustine ; and, after an existence of seven cen- 
turies, it was finally destroyed by the Saracens. No 
relics are to be seen of the grandeur and magnificence 
of ancient Carthage, except some ruins of aqueducts 
and cisterns. In the language of Tasso, 

u Low lie her towers ; sole relics of her sway, 
Her desert shores a few sad fragments keep. 
Shrines, temples, cities, kingdoms, states decay ; 
O'er urns and arcs triumphal, deserts sweep 
Their sands, and lions roar, or ivies creep." 


The earliest inhabitants of that part of Northern 
Africa, now occupied by a Moorish population, appear 
to have been a rude, pastoral race, wandering over the 
territory rather than residing in it. The climate, always 
delightful, hardly required houses for shelter ; and the 
fertile valleys and plains yielded everywhere the rich- 
est abundance of fruits and herbage for the sustenance 
of the shepherds and their flocks. The Atlas Moun- 
tains constitute the prominent feature of the country. 
They consist of two leading chains running east and 
west through the country ; the loftiest and most south- 
erly, bordering on the Great Desert of Zahara, is called 
the Greater Atlas ; the northerly chain, nearer the shore 
of the Mediterranean, bears the name of the Lesser 
Atlas. The summits of the Greater Atlas are very lofty, 
and capped with perpetual snow ; the slopes of the 
Lesser chain are covered with thick forests of oak, 
cypress, wild olive, juniper, myrtle, arbutus, the cystus 
that yields the fragrant gum labdanum, and many other 
beautiful and valuable vegetable productions. In the 
plains and valleys grows the tree more valuable in 
Barbary than all others, the date palm. The tempera- 



ture of the air is warm, but the climate is healthy, and 
delicious m the northern parts. The mild winters 
almost resemble an early spring. Snow sometimes 
falls on the Lesser Atlas, but never remains long. In 
the plains there is almost a constant succession of 
bloom, and the summer heats are agreeably tempered 
by the vicinity of the ocean. 

This territory was known to the Romans by the name 
of Africa, Mauritania, and Numidia. Populous and 
flourishing towns existed here long before the era of 
Roman greatness. By the conquest of Carthage the 
Romans gained a permanent footing in the country. In 
this conquest they had received no slight assistance 
from Masinissa, one of the princes of the country ; and 
a dispute, arising between his grandchildren, gave an 
opportunity for the Romans to interfere, and seize 
upon more of the African territory. The complete 
subjugation of Numidia was reserved for Julius Cse- 
sar, who attacked Juba, the king of that country, for 
having espoused the party of Pompey, and overthrew 
him in a decisive battle at Thapsus. Numidia was 
organized as a Roman province, and received, as its 
first governor, Sallust, who is supposed to have been 
the historian of the Jugurthine War and Catiline's Con- 
spiracy. When the Roman empire sunk beneath its 
own greatness, and the remote provinces, one by one, 
withdrew from its dominion, Africa also attempted to 
revolt ; but, being too feeble to succeed without assist- 
ance, supplicated aid from the Vandals, who had al- 
ready invaded Spain. Genseric, one of their chiefs, 
passed into Africa at the head of a formidable army, 
which soon bore down all opposition, and destroyed 
the feeble remains of Roman authority. 



The unfortunate natives, however, found that they 
had only changed their masters. The country was too 
inviting to be relinquished by the barbarian hordes 
who had now tasted of its luxuries, and mastered all 
its strongholds. A slight insurrection tempted them 
to acts of cruel oppression. They tyrannized over the 
inhabitants, ruined the cities, and laid waste the fields 
and vineyards. Havoc and desolation now prevailed, 
where, a short time previous, nothing met the eye but 
scenes of smiling prosperity. From these calamities 
they were at length delivered by the arms of Belisa- 
rius, the lieutenant of Justinian, who invaded Africa 
with a well disciplined army, defeated the Vandals in 
several engagements, dispersed all their forces, and 
pursued their defeated monarch, Gelimer, with a few 
faithful followers, to the inaccessible mountain of Pa- 
pua, in the interior of Numidia, where, after a close 
siege by the Romans, he found himself reduced to 
the utmost distress, and submitted to the conqueror in 
the manner which we have related in the Life of Beli- 
sarius. Africa remained subject to the Eastern Empire 
till about the middle of the seventh century, when the 
Saracens from Egypt burst into the country, and over- 
ran Numidia and Mauritania as far as the shores of the 
Atlantic. From this region they passed over into 
Spain, and laid the foundation of the Arab dominion 
in that kingdom. Northern Africa being entirely sub- 
ject to the Saracens, the inhabitants adopted the re- 
ligion of their conquerors, which has prevailed in that 
country to this day. 

Tripoli is the most eastern of the Barbary States. 
For above three hundred years, it has been considered, 



like the others, a dependency of the Ottoman Porte. 
All these states practised, until very recently, a regu- 
lar system of piracy, attacking the commerce of all 
Christian nations, and making slaves of their prison- 
ers. It seems difficult to understand, at the present 
day, why the civilized nations of Europe should so 
long have endured the insolent robberies of these des- 
picable marauders, and even have submitted to the 
degradation of paying them a tribute. The mutual 
jealousies of the European maritime powers appear to 
have been the chief obstacle in the way of their com- 
bining to extirpate the Barbary pirates. Tripoli was 
the least powerful of these states, but at an early 
period she maintained twenty-five or thirty cruisers. 
One of the sovereigns of Tripoli was Dragut, a noted 
corsair, who was for a long time the terror of the 
whole Mediterranean. He was born in a little village 
in Natolia, opposite to the Isle of Rhodes, and sprung, 
like the famous corsairs, the Barbarossas, from the 
meanest parents. Dragut, in his youth, enlisted on 
board a Turkish galley, and served there for some 
years as a common sailor. In that station he gave 
conspicuous proofs of his capacity. He seemed, how- 
ever, to be governed by a passion extremely different 
from that ambition which is the ordinary attendant 
upon genius, and had apparently no other end in view 
than to enrich himself. But as soon as he had ac- 
quired a certain sum of money, he purchased a galley 
of his own, and began the adventurous occupation of 
a corsair, in which he became remarkable for his skill 
in navigation, his knowledge of the seas, his intrepid- 
ity, and his enterprise. His character did not long 



remain unknown to Hayradin Barbarossa, who was at 
that time high-admiral of the Turkish fleet. Barba- 
rossa gladly received Dragut into his service, and, 
having made him his lieutenant, gave him the com- 
mand of twelve of his ships of war. With this fleet 
Dragut did infinite mischief to all the European states 
who traded in the Mediterranean, the French only ex- 
cepted, whose monarchs were in alliance with the 
Turkish emperor. He suffered no season to pass un- 
employed. Scarcely a single Spanish or Italian ship 
escaped him ; and when he failed in taking a sufficient 
number of prizes, he commonly made some sudden 
descent on the coasts of Spain or Italy, plundering the 
country, and carrying off great numbers of the inhab- 
itants into captivity. In these descents he was gener- 
ally fortunate ; but, in the year 1541, having landed 
his men in a creek in Corsica, while they were scat- 
tered along the coast and employed in collecting their 
booty, Giannetino Doria, the brave nephew of the illus- 
trious Andrea Doria, of Genoa, came upon him with a 
superior force, took nine of his ships, and compelled 
him to surrender. When he was carried on board the 
admiral's galley, he could not restrain his indignation, 
but exclaimed, " And am I, then, doomed to be thus 
loaded with fetters by a beardless youth ? " a saying 
which occasioned his meeting with harder usage than 
he would otherwise have received. 

Both Barbarossa and Sultan Solyman interested 
themselves in his behalf, and made tempting offers to 
the Genoese for his ransom. Notwithstanding which, 
they detained him four years in captivity, nor could 
they be persuaded to set him at liberty, till Barbarossa, 



with a hundred galleys under his command, appeared 
before Genoa and threatened to lay it in ashes, if he 
were not instantly released. The Genoese found it 
necessary to comply with this request, and Dragut, 
who was immediately afterwards furnished with a 
strong squadron of ships by Barbarossa, and was now 
inflamed with redoubled hatred against all who bore 
the name of Christians, resumed his former occupa- 
tion, and sought after opportunities, with unceasing 
ardor, to wreak his vengeance upon his enemies. Be- 
sides captures which he made at sea, he sacked and 
pillaged, year after year, innumerable villages and 
towns in Italy and the adjacent isles. Having been 
dispossessed, by Doria, of his strong seaport of Mo- 
hedia, on the coast of Barbary, he had ample revenge 
afterwards on that gallant seaman in an engagement 
off Naples, in which he took six of his ships, with a 
great number of troops on board, and obliged Doria 
himself and the rest of the fleet to fly before him. In 
the year immediately following, he subdued almost the 
whole island of Corsica, and delivered it into the hands 
of the French. After this, having made himself mas- 
ter of Tripoli, he fortified that place in the strongest 
manner. From Tripoli he issued forth upon his cruis- 
es, as often as the season would permit. After the 
accession of Philip the Second, and even after peace 
was concluded between France and Spain, he contin- 
ued to practise, as formerly, his depredations upon the 
coasts of Sicily, Naples, and other states which belong- 
ed to the Spanish monarchy. In 1565, he joined the 
Turkish Sultan at the siege of Malta, where, in recon- 
noitring a breach, he was wounded in the head by a 
splinter from a stone, which caused his death. 



The United States, in common with all the maritime 
powers of Christendom, paid an annual tribute to the 
Barbary States. In the year 1800, the Bashaw of 
Tripoli informed the American consul at that place, 
that, if a present in money were not sent to him within 
six' months, he should declare war. As the money 
was not sent, he carried his menace into effect by cut- 
ting down the flag-staff of the American consulate, on 
the 14th of May, 1801. Before this was known in 
America, a squadron had been ordered to the Mediter- 
ranean. On the 1st of July, this squadron, consisting 
of the frigates President, Philadelphia, and Essex, and 
the brig Enterprise, arrived at Gibraltar. The vessels 
separated, and, on the 1st of August, the Enterprise 
captured a Tripolitan ship of war. An ineffectual at- 
tempt was made to negotiate a peace, but the Tripolitan 
cruisers were prevented from committing depredations 
by the vigilance of the American squadron. The fol- 
lowing year the squadron was augmented, and Tripoli 
was bombarded. The Americans had the misfortune 
to lose the frigate Philadelphia, which struck on a rock 
off Tripoli, and fell into the hands of the enemy ; but 
that ship was some time afterwards recaptured in the 
harbour, and destroyed, by a daring exploit of Lieuten- 
ant Decatur. 

The reigning Bashaw of Tripoli was a usurper, 
having dethroned his elder brother, Hamet, who escap- 
ed from the country, and, after passing a wandering 
life, took refuge among the Mamelukes in Egypt. It 
had often been suggested to the Americans, that this 
deposed prince might be made useful in carrying on 
the war against the usurper. General Eaton, the con- 



sul at Algiers, interested himself in this undertaking. 
He proceeded to Cairo, and settled the plan of a cam- 
paign with the Tripolitan exile. Early in 1805, Eaton, 
at the head of a small army, consisting of Arabs, 
Greeks, and men of other nations, with a few Ameri- 
cans, took up his march across the Desert of Barca, in 
the direction of Derne, a Tripolitan town on the east- 
ern frontier. They marched above a thousand miles, 
amid extreme sufferings and perils, and arrived before 
Derne on the 25th of April. The Bashaw had receiv- 
ed intelligence of this expedition, and was advancing 
with an army to defend the place. He was within a 
day's march when Eaton arrived ; and that officer, 
perceiving that there was no time to be lost, immedi- 
ately stormed the town, and captured it, after a contest 
of two hours and a half. Some vessels from the 
American squadron, which had just before arrived in 
the Bay of Derne, lent their assistance in the attack. 

Hamet set up his government in Derne, and his 
authority was quietly submitted to by the inhabitants 
of the town and the surrounding district. Shortly 
after, the Bashaw arrived with a strong army, and made 
a furious assault on the place. The battle lasted four 
hours, and the Tripolitans outnumbered the Arabo- 
Americans ten to one ; but the latter fought with such 
determined courage, that the assailants were defeated, 
and fled precipitately beyond the mountains. Many 
skirmishes took place during the succeeding days, and 
on the 10th of June another general battle was fought, 
in which the Tripolitans were again defeated. The 
next day, the arrival of the frigate Constitution in the 
harbour struck them with such a panic, that they took 



to flight, and made their escape into the desert, leaving 
a great part of their baggage behind them. After 
these brilliant exploits, Eaton might have pursued his 
march to Tripoli, and reinstated Hamet upon the 
throne ; but his victorious career was suddenly cut 
short by a treaty of peace, concluded in June, 1805 
between the American agent and the Bashaw. By 
this hasty proceeding, the unfortunate Hamet was de* 
prived of all hopes of maintaining himself in the 

Tunis, which lies between Tripoli and Algiers, was 
formidable as a piratical power, by means of her nu- 
merous harbours. Her piracies were at one time car- 
ried on so successfully, that a Genoese renegade, who 
commanded the galleys of Biserta, is said to have re- 
duced no less than 20,000 persons to slavery. In 1655, 
Admiral Blake, with a powerful English squadron, the 
first that had been seen in the Mediterranean since the 
crusades, having compelled the Dey of Algiers to a 
peace, appeared before Tunis, bombarded the fortifi- 
cations, and forced the Bey to promise that his sub- 
jects should commit no more depredations upon the 
English. France and Holland soon followed the same 
course. These promises were often renewed, but seem 
never to have been faithfully observed. The Barbary 
system of piracy, however, was completely broken up 
in the year 1816, as we shall presently relate. 

Algiers was the most formidable, in its piracies, of 
all the Barbary powers, although, in other respects, 
surpassed by the empire of Morocco. The Turks, 
who, for more than three centuries, were the rulers of 
this state, maintained a strong body of militia, by which 



they kept the country in subjection. This army was 
nominally under the orders of the Sultan, as lord high 
sovereign of the country, and the Dey of Algiers was 
selected from its ranks. The population of this state 
was much augmented by the Moors and Jews of Spain, 
who were expelled from that kingdom by Philip the 
Second. In 1541, Charles the Fifth sent a formidable 
expedition against Algiers ; but a furious storm dis- 
persed his fleet, and compelled his army to reembark 
in the greatest confusion. From this period, the Al- 
gerines thought themselves invincible, and not only 
extended their piracies all over the Mediterranean, but 
even ventured into the Atlantic, and seized the vessels 
of all nations that did not pay them a tribute. The 
Spaniards made a second attempt against them in 1775. 
General O'Reilly landed with an army near Algiers, 
but was obliged to reembark with great loss. In short, 
the Algerines, in consequence of the illiberal jealousies 
existing among the European powers, were enabled to 
lay all Christendom under contribution, plundering 
whom they pleased, and exacting tribute from such as 
were willing to purchase, with money, a security for 
their commerce. The greatest sufferers by these pira- 
cies were the Italian states ; the Algerines not only 
seized their vessels and cargoes, but made slaves of all 
their prisoners, and either sold them in the market or 
sent them in chains to the public works. The sale of 
slaves was a great source of revenue to the Algerine 
government, and of profit to private adventurers. Enor- 
mous ransoms were extorted from such of their pris- 
oners as were supposed to possess either property or 
friends in their own country. It was a common say- 
ing, that Algiers, without piracy, must starve. 



This disgraceful submission of the Christian nations 
to a band of Mahometan plunderers at length ap- 
proached its termination. The first check to this bar- 
barian insolence and rapacity came from a quarter 
where it was least anticipated. The Dey of Algiers 
had sent his cruisers against American commerce in 
1812, as soon as he perceived the United States were 
involved in hostilities with Great Britain. During the 
war of 1812, our navy was too much occupied in other 
quarters to be able to chastise this act of treachery ; 
but on the conclusion of peace in 1815, an American 
squadron, under Commodore Decatur, sailed for the 
Mediterranean, captured two Algerine ships of war, 
and then suddenly appearing before Algiers, compelled 
the Dey instantly to sign a treaty, by which he gave up 
all his Christian prisoners, without ransom, stipulated 
to pay for all the captures which he had made of 
American property, and renounced all claim of tribute 
for the future. This was the death-blow to Algerine 
piracy ; and the United States enjoy the singular honor 
of leading the way in suppressing one of the most 
barbarous systems of warfare that ever existed. The 
other piratical states, who had also taken the opportu- 
nity of the war of 1812 to plunder American com- 
merce, were struck with such a panic, that they sub- 
mitted without delay to the same terms with Algiers. 
Incited by the example of the Americans, the British, 
in the following year, sent a strong fleet, under Lord 
Exmouth, against Algiers. The Dey made an obstinate 
resistance, but, after sustaining a furious bombardment, 
he agreed to terms. 

The final overthrow of the Algerine government, 



which had been for a long time the terror of Europe, 
was occasoned by a rap with a fan, given as an insult 
by the Dey to the French consul, during an alterca- 
tion in which they had become involved, in April, 
1827. This led to a rupture between the two powers, 
and the French government, in 1830, sent an expe- 
dition, on a very large scale, for the conquest of Al- 
giers. The French army landed in great force near 
the city, in June, and compelled the Dey to surren- 
der, and abdicate the sovereignty. The neighbouring 
country, to a considerable distance, was subsequently 
reduced, and the French have retained it in their pos- 
session to this day. A sort of military government has 
been organized in the country, which is now a colony 
of France under the name of Algeria. In conse- 
quence, however, of the continual hostilities which are 
carried on against the French by the Arabs and Moors 
of the interior districts, this colony has caused the 
treasury of France a vast expenditure of money, and is 
likely to prove a most unprofitable acquisition. 

Morocco. — This empire, called by the natives Mo- 
ghrib, or the West, extends from the Straits of Gib- 
raltar south to the Great Desert of Sahara. Its sur- 
face is extremely diversified by mountains, hills, plains, 
and valleys. The great chain of the Atlas traverses it 
through nearly its whole extent. A considerable por- 
tion of the country has never been visited by Europe- 
ans. This region, as well as those others known by 
the name of the Barbary States, was subdued by the 
Saracens during the first era of their power. In the 
year 773, Edris, a descendant of Mohammed, founded 
the city of Fez, which became the capital of a king- 



dom of that name. This was the first monarchy estab- 
lished in Africa by the Mohammedans, and for a long 
time they called it the Court or Kingdom of the West. 
After this, all their conquests in Africa were distracted 
by commotions, occasioned by a tradition, that, three 
centuries from the time of Mohammed, another leader 
of the faithful, or Mohadi, should make his appearance 
in the West ; and various individuals, profiting by this 
belief, imposed on the vulgar credulity, that they might 
seize the government. El Mohadi, who was said 
to be a descendant of Ali and Fatima, declared 
himself Caliph, extirpated the dynasty of Edris, and 
usurped the throne of Fez, but was himself assassi- 
nated, and Morabethroon became sovereign of Mauri- 
tania. His son, Joseph, founded the city of Morocco 
toward the end of the eleventh century, vanquished 
the king of Fez, and united his dominions to Morocco. 

One of the earliest accounts of the empire of Mo- 
rocco, by a European, is that given by the Sieur Mou- 
ette. He set sail from Dieppe for the West Indies in 
July, 1670. After touching at an English port, they 
came in sight of two vessels bearing Turkish colors. 
These vessels came within hail, and informed the 
Frenchman that they were Algerines, at peace w T ith 
France, and that they had nothing to fear ; they only 
wished to send two or three of their people on board 
to examine if any of the crew belonged to other na- 
tions. The moment the Moors were admitted on board, 
they drew their concealed weapons, and attacked the 
French. The vessel was captured and carried into the 
port of Salle, the centre of the piratical trade of Mo- 
rocco. The crew were conducted to the slave market, 



and exposed, bare-headed, to public auction. The pur- 
chasers directed their chief attention to the hands of 
the captives, in order to conjecture the rank and quali- 
ty of the individual. A knight of Malta and his mother 
were sold for 1,500 crowns. Mouette, after being 
well walked about, sold for 360. His master, named 
Maraxchy, carried him home and showed him to his 
wife, who gave him a good meal of bread, butter, 
honey, and dates. His master then took him aside, 
exhorted him to keep up his spirits, and inquired what 
were his relations and his means of ransom. Mouette, 
in hopes of obtaining his liberty at an easy rate, plead- 
ed utter poverty, declaring, " If a penny would pur- 
chase his freedom, he could not give it." Maraxchy 
then told him, that he must write to his relations, and 
endeavour to raise a sum ; " For if you will not," said 
he, " we shall load you with chains, beat you like a 
dog, and starve you in a dungeon." Finding his case 
so desperate, Mouette accordingly wrote to his brother, 
whom he addressed as a cobbler, imploring him to beg 
as much as forty or fifty crowns to deliver him from 

He was then set to labor in grinding corn with a 
handmill ; but not liking the occupation, he made such 
bad flour, that he was taken from that work and put to 
tending a child. He gained the favor of his mistress, 
who not only showed him every kind of good treat- 
ment, but offered him, if he would become a convert, 
a rich and beautiful niece of her own in marriage. 
This he declined, on the gallant plea, that, had she 
herself been the prize, he would not have hesitated. 
Unfortunately for him, three other men had been asso- 



ciated with Maraxchy in his purchase, and he was 
soon transferred to the hands of a second master, 
named Hamet Ben Yencourt, who undertook to get 
something more out of him. The fortunes of Mouette 
now suffered a sad change. His diet was reduced to 
brown bread, and he was obliged to pass the night in 
a dungeon so dismal, that the gloomiest prison in Eu- 
rope seemed cheerful in comparison. Into this dun- 
geon the prisoners were let down by a rope ladder, and 
they lay on the bottom in a circle with their feet to the 
centre. As the place grew warm, and the damp be- 
gan to exhale, the atmosphere became intolerably 
stifling. During the day, they were kept at hard labor, 
chiefly in building stone walls ; and if they remitted 
their exertions for a single moment, stones were dis- 
charged at them. Time was not even allowed them 
to eat their morsel of bread ; they were expected to 
feed themselves with one hand, and work with the 
other. If any one complained of being sick, there 
was only one remedy, which the Moors regarded as 
a specific equally salutary and cheap ; it consisted in 
applying a red-hot iron to the part affected. There 
were, of course, few complaints, after the first speci- 
men of this species of doctoring. 

These sufferings induced Mouette, as his master had 
calculated, to retract some of his professions of pover- 
ty. He offered 400, 500, and at length 600 dollars 
for his ransom. The last offer was accepted ; but the 
communication with France was so imperfect, that the 
money could not be obtained. Hamet being called to 
Fez by the emperor, and apprehending some ill luck, 
vented his ill humor upon the slaves, and beat them so 



barbarously, that some of them died, and Mouette 
thought himself fortunate in being only covered with 
bruises from head to foot. They were all then con- 
veyed to Fez, where their master, though suspected of 
treason, was pardoned. But soon after, engaging in a 
revolt, he was defeated, and all the slaves belonging 
to him and his partisans became the property of the 

Mouette was next carried to Mequinez, where la- 
borers were required for extensive building operations. 
Here he found himself in a worse situation than ever. 
The captives were met at the, castle-gate by a black 
" of prodigious stature, a frightful aspect, and a voice 
as dreadful as the barking of Cerberus." He had a 
huge staff in his hand, with which he bestowed upon 
each one, as he entered, no very gentle salutation. 
They were then furnished with enormous pickaxes to 
pull down old walls, when they were kept at work in- 
cessantly, and if any one took a moment's respite, it 
was the worse for him. Whenever the head black 
went away, he left deputies who were anxious to prove 
their zeal and vigilance by the blows they inflicted, 
and, in addition, made large reports of delinquencies, on 
his return, none of which were thrown away. His 
voice, calling in the morning, " Come ! Quick ! " put 
such life into them, that every one strove who should 
be foremost, knowing how surely the last would feel 
the weight of his cudgel. 

One day, as the emperor was passing, they took the 
opportunity of throwing themselves at his feet. The 
monarch showed some signs of compassion, but they 
heard no more from him ; and their tyrant, exasperated 



at this appeal, redoubled his blows, and sent twenty of 
them to their graves. They at one time had deter- 
mined to kill him when he made his nightly visit ; but 
when it came to the point, no man would strike the 
first blow ; and he, suspecting their intention, never 
came again alone. They next attempted his life by 
mingling poison with his brandy ; but this, too, was 
discovered, and the exasperation thus produced ren- 
dered their bondage even more dreadful. At length 
the plague broke out in Mequinez, and swept away 
a large proportion of the inhabitants. Most fortu- 
nately, their savage tyrant was one of its first vic- 
tims ; and this relief was followed by another ; for, in 
the general conftfsion and disorganization which the 
mortality produced among the inhabitants, they were 
enabled to obtain a greater degree of liberty. They 
manufactured brandy, which they sold profitably to 
the Moors ; they even set up tables for cards and dice, 
and from the profits accumulated a fund for the relief 
of the sick. 

At various times during their captivity, attempts 
were made to escape. The common method was for 
the slaves to be buried in a ditch with the head above 
ground, surrounded and concealed by rubbish and 
weeds ; this being done on a Friday afternoon, when 
the Moors were all engaged in prayer, and only one 
keeper left, whom the captives kept closely engaged 
in talk till the burial was effected. The fugitives un- 
earthed themselves after dark, and had the advantage 
of travelling all night before their flight was discovered. 
At one time they undermined their dungeon, and 
seventy-five made their escape at once ; but all except 



twelve were overtaken and brought back. At length, 
in 1681, a body of Fathers of the Order of Mercy ar- 
rived from France, and effected the ransom of Mou- 
ette and his companions. 

The Moors are the most numerous of all the nations 
that inhabit Morocco. The Arabs are the descendants 
of those who emigrated at the time when the Moham- 
medan religion was first introduced into this country. 
A few families live in the town, but the Bedouins are 
dispersed over the plains, where they adhere to their 
wandering life, living in tents, and following the pasto- 
ral occupation. Their language is the Koreish, or 
Arabic of the Koran, which they pretend to speak in its 
purity. The Moorish language is a dialect of the Ara- 
bic, which contains many Spanish words. The Moors 
are of a complexion between yellow and black, which 
may be ascribed to their frequently marrying 'black 
women from Soudan. They are the only natives of 
Morocco with whom the Europeans hold any immedi- 
ate intercourse ; and they are the principal inhabitants 
of the towns, filling the high offices of government, 
and forming the military class. The Berbers are the 
most ancient inhabitants of Northern Africa, and oc- 
cupy a part of the mountainous region. They are near- 
ly white, and resemble more closely the people of 
Northern Europe than the Africans. They live gen- 
erally in tents, or caves of the mountains, though on 
the plains they build houses. They pay little regard 
to the orders of the Sultan ; and obey chiefly their he- 
reditary princes or chosen magistrates. The Jews are 
intermixed with these nations. They are numerous 
in the seaports and large towns, and are for the most 



part very much oppressed. There are many negroes 
who are imported as slaves. 

The Moorish character may be said to be a com- 
pound of every thing that is worthless and contempt- 
ible, with a few striking good qualities. Utterly desti- 
tute of faith, the vows and promises of a Moor are 
made, at the same time, with such an appearance of 
sincerity as rarely to fail of deceiving his victims. 
Falsehood is so habitual to him, that hardly any reli- 
ance can be placed upon what he says. He glories in 
keeping no faith with a Christian, unless compelled 
by necessity or interest. In his temper he is cruel, 
overbearing, and tyrannical ; benevolence and humani- 
ty are strangers to his breast. Proud, arrogant, and 
haughty in his general demeanour to his inferiors, he is 
fawning and cringing to those above him, and the most 
abject slave imaginable before the man whom he fears. 
He is the most avaricious being in the world, and in 
proportion as the danger is great of being opulent, so 
does his desire seem to increase of amassing wealth. 
The great risk, which every one who has the reputa- 
tion of being rich incurs of falling into the merciless 
clutches of the emperor, obliges all men to affect an 
appearance of poverty for their own security. On this 
account no Moor ever boasts or talks about his own 
possessions ; and if you wish to frighten him effec- 
tually, you need only tax him with being wealthy. 
In his religion he is cruel and bigoted in the extreme, 
persecuting Christians of all denominations, but more 
particularly holding in abhorrence the Catholics, whom 
he considers as idolaters. The feelings of the Moor 
on this head are remarkably strong and universal ; and 



no figure or resemblance of the human form is ever 
allowed to be seen, either in manuscript, drawing, or- 
naments, or in any shape whatever, such a thing being 
regarded as a sin ; and when any portrait of a man, or 
print of the human figure, is shown to a Moor, he is 
sure to exhibit marks of uneasiness and aversion. 
From ignorance of the strong prejudices on this sub- 
ject, instances have occurred of costly presents having 
been made by the European powers to the emperor, 
consisting of plate magnificently chased and embossed 
with figures, but which has been instantly melted down ; 
and one of the kings of Spain having sent his own 
portrait, it was immediately returned. To the other 
bad qualities of the Moor, we may add that he is lazy, 
ignorant, hypocritical, vindictive, and a coarse and 
grovelling sensualist. 

It is but fair to exhibit the bright side of his charac- 
ter. He is patient under suffering ; perfectly resigned 
to whatever visitation of Providence may come upon 
him ; a scrupulous observer of the rites of religion, 
and a firm and conscientious believer. His predesti- 
narian principles teach him to bear misfortunes with 
the patience and firmness of a philosopher, and on this 
account suicides seldom happen. He is free from 
many vices which luxury and refinement have entailed 
upon the Christian. The horrible enormities and out- 
rages, the singular pitch of refinement to which vice is 
carried in Christian countries, the details of which are 
so industriously blazed abroad every day, to the de- 
struction of morals, the increase of crime, and the 
corruption of female delicacy and purity, are utterly 
unknown in Morocco. If the Moor is sensual in his 



enjoyments, at least propriety and decency are never 
outraged in the gross manner witnessed in Christian 
countries ; and he is so scrupulous on this point, that it 
is considered a rule of decorum never to speak of 
women, and you might almost doubt the existence of 
the sex, from its being so little mentioned. 

In eating, the Moors use neither tables nor chairs. 
The dishes are placed on a piece of greasy leather, 
round which they sit, cross-legged, on the ground. The 
favorite dish is " cooscoosoo" a sort of macaroni, 
chopped fine. When they slaughter an animal, they 
turn its head towards Mecca, make a short prayer, and 
cut its throat. Games of hazard, though some times 
played, are illegal. Eating, drinking, sleeping, the 
harem, horses, and prayers, engross nearly the whole 
of their time. Saints are held in great veneration ; 
and it is difficult to say what precise qualities elevate 
persons to this character. Any extraordinary qualifi- 
cation, any remarkable crime, sometimes pure idiotism, 
is the cause. When the English embassy visited Mo- 
rocco in 1721, several of the emperor's horses were 
saints ; one, in particular, was held in such reverence 
by that monarch, that any person who had committed 
the most enormous crime, or even killed a prince of 
the blood royal, if he took hold of the sainted horse, 
was perfectly secure. Several captives saved their 
lives in this manner. 

An adequate notion of the Moorish government may 
be formed from a view of the career of Muley Ismael, 
who came to the throne in 1672. He succeeded to 
his brother, of whom he was not the rightful heir ; but 
being; governor of Mequinez, and having thus a con- 



siderable force under his command, he dethroned and 
put to death his nephew. The cruelty of this extraor- 
dinary barbarian soon began to show itself, and it pro- 
duced at first some salutary effects. The laws were 
rigorously enforced ; the roads were cleared of the 
banditti which had before infested them ; travelling was 
rendered secure ; and the empire was preserved, dur- 
ing his whole reign, in a state of tranquillity. His 
executions, however, were not confined to those who 
had given just cause of offence ; he put to instant 
death all who became the object of his capricious re- 
sentment. The instruments of his violence were a 
body of 800 negro guards, who formed his chief con- 
fidants, and were carefully trained to their functions. 
He tried their temper by furious beating, and some- 
times laid forty or fifty of them at his feet, sprawling 
in their blood, when such as showed any sensibility to 
such treatment were considered wholly unworthy of 
being attached to the person of his majesty. These 
myrmidons, on the slightest signal, darted like tigers 
on their victim ; and, not content with killing, they 
tortured him with such savage ferocity as reminded 
the spectators of devils tormenting the damned. A 
milder fate awaited those whom the emperor slew with 
his own hand. He merely cut off their heads, or 
pierced them with one blow of a lance ; and this was 
a pastime in which he never lost his expertness for 
want of practice. 

When this capricious tyrant issued forth in the morn- 
ing, every one made a trembling observation of his 
countenance, his gestures, and even of the color of his 
clothes, yellow being his " killing color." When he put 



any one to death through mistake, or in a momentary 
gust of passion, he made an apology to the dead man, 
saying that he had not intended it, but that it was the 
will of God, and that his hour had come. But those 
who had an opportunity of closely observing him re- 
ported that he was agitated by frequent and terrible 
remorse, and that in his sleep he was often heard start- 
ing wildly, and calling upon those whom he had mur- 
dered. Not unfrequently, even when awake, he would 
ask for persons whom he had put to death only the 
day before ; and on being told they were dead, would 
inquire, with great surprise, " Who killed them ? 1 
The attendants, unless they felt an inclination to share 
their fate, were careful to answer, that " they did not 
know, but supposed God killed them " ; after which, 
no further inquiry was made. The greatest favorite 
he ever had was a youth of the name of Hameda, 
who, being of a gay disposition, was admitted to the 
closest familiarity, and was allowed the singular privi- 
lege of entering the gardens while the emperor was 
attended by his women. All this did not prevent him 
from beating him so furiously, in a fit of passion, that 
he died soon after. He expressed deep regret at this 
catastrophe, and was often heard, when he believed 
himself alone, calling on the name of Hameda. 

This extraordinary personage made high pretensions 
to sanctity, and was an eminent expounder of the Mo- 
hammedan law. Whenever he was about to do any 
thing uncommon, he prostrated himself with his face 
on the ground, and was believed to be in conference 
with God and the Prophet, and to act entirely by their 
direction. For these pretensions he is said to have 



obtained full credit from his subjects, who believed 
him to be a descendant and peculiar favorite of Mo- 
hammed, and incapable of doing any thing amiss. His 
great delight consisted in building and throwing down, 
which he practised to such an extent, that, if all his 
edifices had stood, they would have reached from Fez 
to Mequinez. This whim he defended by alleging the 
necessity of keeping his subjects in perpetual occupa- 
tion, that they might be restrained from mischief. He 
compared them, by an odd metaphor, to rats in a bag, 
who, unless they were perpetually shaken about, would 
speedily eat the bag through. 

The Moors send their children to school very young. 
Elementary schools, both public and private, are very 
numerous, both in town and country. The method of 
teaching resembles, in some respects, that of Bell and 
Lancaster, which seems to have been practised in the 
East from a veryjearly period. In the colleges are 
taught grammar, theology, logic, rhetoric, poetry, arith- 
metic, geometry, astrology, and medicine. The com- 
mentaries and traditions relating to the Koran, the laws, 
and legal procedure, are also explained. 

Besides the ordinary species of commerce, and the 
traffic by caravans across the desert, a considerable 
trade is carried on by the Moors in ransoming captives 
who have been shipwrecked on the coast of the desert, 
and fallen into the hands of the wild Arabs. The 
coast to the south of Morocco is a desert, interspersed 
with loose hills of sand, which are driven by the wind 
into various forms, and so fill the air with sand, for 
many miles out at sea, as to give to the atmosphere the 
appearance of hazy weather. Navigators, unacquaint- 



ed with the coast, never suspect, with the appearance 
of an open sea, that they are near land, until they find 
themselves among breakers on the coast, where, in 
many parts, the water is so shallow that a man may 
walk a mile into the sea without wading over knees, 
and ships run aground when the land is at a great dis- 
tance. Besides this, there is a current which sets in 
with great force from the west towards Africa, with 
which the navigator being generally unacquainted, he 
loses his reckoning, and in the course of a night, per- 
haps, while he imagines himself two or three hundred 
miles out at sea, his ship runs aground. 

As soon as a ship strikes, the wandering Arabs 
catch sight of the masts from the sand-hills, and, as- 
sembling in a large armed body, make prisoners of the 
crew who have landed on the beach. They then go in 
boats and take every thing portable from the vessel, 
and if it is not soon dashed in pieces by the surf, they 
set fire to it, that it may not serve as a warning to 
other ships. An English ship, which ran aground 
here, was once saved by a skilful stratagem. The 
vessel being stranded without experiencing any serious 
damage, one of the crew, a Spaniard, who was from 
the Canary Islands, and well acquainted with the man- 
ners of the Arabs of the coast, advised the captain to 
drop an anchor, as if the vessel were riding in safety. 
This was done, and when some Arabs came off to her, 
the captain told them to bring their gums and other 
commodities, for he had come to trade with them, and 
was going away in a few days. As it happened to be 
low water, at the return of tide the vessel floated ; 
when they weighed anchor and set sail, leaving the 
disappointed Arabs to wonder at their ingenuity. 



The Arabs going nearly in a state of nature, wear- 
ing little besides a cloth or rag round the waist, imme- 
diately strip their unhappy victims, and march, them 
into the interior barefoot, like themselves. In these 
marches, the captives suffer the pains of hunger and 
fatigue to a most dreadful degree ; for the Arab will 
travel fifty miles a day without tasting food, and at 
night will content himself with a little barley-meal 
mixed with cold water. They carry the Christian cap- 
tives about the desert to the different markets, to sell 
them ; for they soon discover that their habits of life 
render them altogether unserviceable, or, at least, very 
inferior to the black slaves which they procure from 
Timbuctoo. After travelling three days to one mar- 
ket, five to another, and sometimes a fortnight to a 
third, they at length become objects of commercial 
speculation ; and the itinerant Jew traders, who wan- 
der about from Wadinoon to sell their wares, purchase 
the prisoners for tobacco, salt, cloth, &c, and return 
to Wadinoon with them. If the Jew have a corre- 
spondent at Mogadore, he writes to him that a ship has 
been wrecked, and requests him to inform the consul 
of the nation to which she belonged. In the mean 
time, he flatters the poor men, telling them that they 
will shortly be liberated and sent to Mogadore ; but a 
long and tedious servitude generally follows, for want 
of a regular fund at that place for their ransom. 

Whilst the captives remain in the hands of the Arabs 
and Jews, they are employed in various domestic ser- 
vices, such as carrying water nine or ten miles, and 
collecting firewood. In performing these offices, their 
bare feet, treading on the hot sand, become blistered 



and inflamed, and the sand penetrates into the blisters, 
when broken, occasioning mortification and death. The 
young lads, of whom there are generally two or three 
in every ship's crew, are often induced by the Arabs 
to become Mohammedans. Wives are then chosen 
for them, when they join the tribe, thus abandoning for 
ever their native country and connections. 


The history of the discovery of this island is con- 
nected with a romantic legend, the truth of which has 
been called in question by many writers. It is, how- 
ever, supported by the testimony of Alcaforado, the 
historiographer of Prince Henry of Portugal, who, 
jealous of the honor of the first discovery of this island, 
would not have allowed that writer to deprive him of 
it, had he not been convinced that the story was found- 
ed in fact. The tradition of this event is, moreover, 
generally received and credited in Madeira, and no 
historian of the place would be justified in passing it 
without notice. 

In the reign of Edward the Third of England, a 
person named Robert Macham fell in love with a beau- 
tiful young lady of a noble family, and, paying his 
addresses to her, succeeded in gaining her affections. 
Her parents, scorning an alliance with a family of 
inferior rank, resorted to the most prompt and effectual 
means of preventing the match. Having procured a 
warrant from the king, they threw Macham into prison, 
and kept him confined till they had married their 
daughter to a nobleman, who immediately took his bride 



to his mansion in Bristol. No further fear being enter- 
tained of Macham, he was set at liberty. But the 
insult which he had received only inspired him with 
additional courage and resolution. He determined to 
obtain by stratagem what had been ravished from him 
by force, and engaged several of his friends to share 
in a plot for carrying off the lady of his affections. 
One of them introduced himself into the family in the 
character of a groom, and acquainted her with the 
design. It met with a ready approval from her, and 
every thing was speedily arranged to carry it into 

On a day appointed, she rode out, attended by her 
groom, under pretence of taking the air. They pro- 
ceeded directly to the sea-shore, where she was handed 
into a boat, which conveyed her on board a vessel pre- 
pared for the purpose. Here she found her lover. 
They immediately put to sea, and steered toward the 
French coast ; but, being inexpert in navigation, and a 
storm overtaking them, they missed their port, and the 
next morning found themselves out of sight of land, 
without any knowledge as to what point of the compass 
the gale was carrying them. In this forlorn condition, 
they continued driving, at the mercy of the winds and 
waves, for thirteen days, when they unexpectedly dis- 
covered land. They steered towards it, and ascer- 
tained it to be a lofty island, entirely overgrown with 
trees. As they approached the shore, several birds of 
an unknown character came from the land, and perch- 
ed on their masts and rigging, without any signs of 

Some of the crew went in a boat to explore the 



island. They brought back a report that it appeared 
to be totally uninhabited, but was altogether a very 
inviting spot. Macham then went on shore himself, 
accompanied by his lady. On landing, the country 
appeared to them beautifully diversified with hills and 
valleys, groves of trees, and sparkling rivulets of fresh 
water. Many wild animals came about them, without 
offering, or seeming to fear, any violence. Thus en- 
couraged, they proceeded farther into the island, and 
presently came to a wide glade in the thick forest, 
encircled with laurel-trees, and watered by a rivulet 
which ran down from the mountains over a bed of 
white sand. Here they found a spot so inviting, and 
beautifully shaded by a lofty tree, that they determined 
to take up their abode there for a while, and accord- 
ingly built an arbor of green boughs. They remain- 
ed some days at this residence, passing their time very 
agreeably, and exploring the woods and hills in the 

This happiness, however, was of short duration. A 
few days afterward, a storm suddenly sprang up, in 
the night, while most of the crew were on board the 
vessel. She was forced from her anchors and driven 
out to sea, where, after tossing up and down for some 
time, she was wrecked on the African coast, and all 
on board were made prisoners by the Moors. Macham 
and his lady, with a small number of the crew, were 
on shore, and, missing the vessel the next morning, 
concluded she had foundered. They now saw them- 
selves abandoned on a desolate island-, without any 
reasonable hope of being rescued. This unexpected 
calamity almost drove them to despair, and produced a 



fatal effect upon the lady. The ill success of the first 
part of this voyage had sunk her spirits, and she con- 
tinually nourished her grief by sad presages and fore- 
bodings that the enterprise would terminate in some 
tragic catastrophe. The shock of this last disaster 
overwhelmed her, and she died in a few days. 

This loss was too great for her lover to survive ; he 
died within five days after her, notwithstanding all that 
his companions could do to comfort him. He begged 
them, in his last moments, to lay him in the same 
'grave with her, at the foot of an altar which they had 
erected near their dwelling. This was done, and the 
survivors set up a large cross over it, with an inscrip- 
tion written by Macham himself, containing a succinct 
account of the whole adventure, and concluding with a 
prayer to ail Christians, if any should come there to 
settle, to build a church on that spot. After a con- 
siderable stay upon the island, they fitted up their 
boat, and put to sea, but, sharing the fate of their com- 
panions, they were driven upon the coast of Morocco, 
and made prisoners. 

Such is the legend ; and the event that it commem- 
orates is said to have happened in 1344. Madeira, 
however, appears to have been totally unknown in the 
beginning of the following century, when Prince Henry 
of Portugal planned his expedition for maritime dis- 
covery along the western coast of Africa. Juan Gon- 
zalez Zarco, a gentleman of his household, having 
been despatched by him, in 1418, on a voyage to Cape 
Bojador, was overtaken by a violent storm and driven 
out of his course. The crew gave themselves up for 
lost ; but, when they expected every moment to foun- 



der, they suddenly came in sight of an unknown island, 
toward which the tempest drove them. They saved 
themselves upon its shores, and, in commemoration of 
their unexpected deliverance, named the island Porto 
Santo, or " Holy Haven." A settlement was formed 
here by the Portuguese. Some years afterwards, Gon- 
zalez, sailing with a fleet from Lisbon to the coast of 
Morocco, touched at Porto Santo, on his passage. 

He found a strange story current among the settlers, 
which strongly excited his curiosity. They informed 
him, that, to the northwest of the island, a thick, im- 
penetrable darkness constantly hung upon the sea, at 
the extremity of the horizon, and extended upward to 
the heavens ; that it never diminished ; and that strange 
and inexplicable noises were often heard in the neigh- 
bourhood. The islanders dared not sail to any distance 
from the shore, as they believed no man, after losing 
sight of the island, could return to it without a miracle. 
They believed that the spot, marked by these preter- 
natural signs, was a yawning abyss, or bottomless gulf. 
The Portuguese priests declared it to be the mouth of 
hell. The historians of that period, with equal credu- 
lity and superstition, represented this place to be the 
island of Cipango, concealed by Providence under a 
mysterious veil, and believed that the Spanish and 
Portuguese bishops had retired to this safe asylum 
from the slavery and oppression of the Moors and 
Saracens. They asserted that it would be a great 
crime to attempt to penetrate into this secret, since it 
had not yet pleased Heaven to reveal it by the signs 
j which ought to precede the discovery, and which are 
j mentioned by the ancient prophets, who, they sup- 
j posed, had spoken of this wonder. 



Gonzalez, on arriving at Porto Santo, also saw this j 
dreadful cloud, and determined to stay here till the j 
change of the moon, in order to ascertain whether that i 
planet would produce any effect upon the phenome- i 
non. When the new moon was found to have no j 
influence upon it, a general panic seized the crew, I 
and they were terrified at the thought of approaching \ 
the mysterious spot. But it happened that the chief \ 
pilot of the fleet was a Spaniard, named Morales. He 
had been a fellow-prisoner, in Morocco, with the Eng- 
lishmen of Macham's crew, and now called to memory 
the story which he had heard them relate of their ad- 
ventures. He was firmly persuaded that land was 
hidden under this mysterious darkness ; and he ex- 
plained the phenomenon to Gonzalez, by supposing 
that the island being constantly shaded from the sun's 
rays by thick woods, a great moisture was constantly 
exhaling from it, which, rising in vapor, was condensed 
into clouds, and covered the whole island. 

After enforcing these reasons with much earnest- 
ness, he at length overcame the objections of Gonzalez, 
who put to sea one morning and steered for the spot, 
without acquainting his crew with his design. When 
they found themselves proceeding, under full sail, 
toward the great object of their terror, a general trep- 
idation seized them. The nearer they approached, the 
loftier and thicker the gloom appeared, and soon it 
became very horrible to behold. About noon, they 
heard a great roaring of the sea, and now their terror 
was at its height. They crowded round their com- 
mander, entreating him, in the name of Heaven, to 
save them from instant destruction by changing his 



course. Gonzalez then explained the appearances 
which caused their fright, and they became more quiet. 
The wind soon dying away, he ordered out his boats, 
and the ship was towed toward the cloud. By degrees, 
the darkness diminished, although the sea roared in a 
more terrific manner than before. Presently they dis- 
covered, through the gloom, certain black objects of 
prodigious size. The men exclaimed that they were 
giants, and became filled with new terrors. However, 
they kept onward, the sea soon grew smooth, and they 
discovered land. The supposed giants were craggy 
rocks, scattered along the shore. 

On attempting to land, they found the whole island 
so thickly covered with woods, that the only spot where 
they could obtain a footing was a large cave, under 
the projection of a high rock, overhanging the sea, 
the bottom of which was much trodden by the sea- 
wolves, who resorted to that place in vast numbers. 
Gonzalez gave this spot the name of Camera dos 
Lobos, or Wolf's Den ; and from this circumstance, 
his family ever afterwards exhibited in their coat of 
arms two sea-wolves, as supporters. The island itself 
was named Madeira, from its forests ; the word, in 
Portuguese, signifying wood. When information of 
this discovery was transmitted to Portugal, measures 
were immediately taken for establishing a settlement 
upon the island. The first settlers, in order to clear 
the land, set fire to the woods, but this inconsiderate 
act resulted in a great calamity. The fire spread in 
every direction with such fury, that it was found im- 
possible to check it; and, after burning for seven 
years, it consumed all the trees upon the island. The 



Portuguese afterwards introduced the culture of sugar 
and wine, for which last Madeira has obtained a 
noted supremacy over every other part of the world. 


The spirit of discovery and of maritime enterprise, 
which had lain dormant in Europe during the long 
period of the Middle Ages, burst forth in the fifteenth 
century with an energy almost unparallelled. It is 
remarkable, also, that, among all the states of Europe, 
the lead should have been taken by Portugal, a power 
which did not seem destined to act any great part on 
the theatre of the world. In the most splendid of hu- 
man enterprises, there usually enters some odd and 
capricious mixture. The glory of the Portuguese 
name, the discovery of new worlds, even the opening 
of the sources of golden wealth, were all considered 
subordinate to the higher aim of discovering the 
abode of a person who was known in Europe under 
the appellation of Prester John. The origin of this 
mysterious name, which formed the guiding star to 
the Portuguese in their course of discovery, it is some- 
what difficult to trace. It attached itself originally to 
the centre of Asia, where it was reported by the early 
travellers that a Christian monarch of that name ac- 
tually resided. The report probably arose from a con- 
fused rumor of the Grand Lama, or priest-sovereign 


of Thibet. The search, accordingly, in that direction, 
proved altogether fruitless. At length it was rumored 
very confidently, that, on the eastern coast of Africa, | 
there existed a Christian sovereign, whose dominions j 
extended far into the interior. Thenceforth it ap- j 
peared no longer doubtful that this was the real Pres- | 
ter John, and that the search had been hitherto made 
in the wrong direction. The maps of Ptolemy, then | 
the sole guide of geographical inquirers, were spread ; 
out ; and, on viewing in them the general aspect of j 
the continent, it was inferred, that an empire, which I 
stretched so far inland from the eastern coast, must ap- ! 
proach near the western, and that by penetrating deep 
on this side, they could scarcely fail to reach its fron- 
tier. Expeditions were accordingly sent out early in 
the fifteenth century with instructions to inquire dili- 
gently of the natives, whether they knew any thing of 
the monarch in question. Every opportunity was also 
to be embraced of penetrating into the interior, and, on 
hearing the name of any sovereign, an embassy was to 
be sent to ascertain if he either was Prester John, or j 
could give any information respecting him. 

So long as the naval career of the Portuguese ex- 
tended along the shores of the Great Desert, and they 
saw nothing on their left hand but " a wide expanse 
of lifeless sand and sky," no temptation existed to form 
a permanent settlement ; but after passing Cape Blanco, 
the country began to improve ; and when they came 
to the fertile shores of the Senegal and Gambia, and i 
saw ivory and gold brought down in considerable 
quantities from the interior, these regions began to 
create a desire for settlement and conquest. The 


island of Arguin, a little to the south of Cape Blanco, 
was the first spot fixed upon ; and soon after an estab- 
lishment was formed here, a very important event took 
place. Bemoy, one of the princes of the Jalofs, a 
people inhabiting the district between the Senegal and 
the Gambia, came thither to seek the aid of the Por- 
tuguese. He complained of having been unjustly ex- 
pelled from the throne by one of his relatives, and 
solicited a force to reinstate him in his dignity. To 
people who have begun to cast a longing eye upon the 
dominions of their neighbours such an application is 
always most welcome. It secures to them a party in 
the coveted territory, and gives an air of nobleness and 
generosity to what would be otherwise an odious and 
wanton aggression. Bemoy was received at Arguin 
with open arms, and the governor sent him with all 
his train to Portugal. On his arrival at Lisbon, he was 
received with the highest honors at court. The Por- 
tuguese chronicles are lavish in describing the aston- 
ishment and admiration of Bemoy at this exhibition of 
European magnificence. In a private audience with 
the king, he gave a splendid description of that part of 
Africa known to him, mentioning, in particular, Tim- 
buctoo and Jenne, and the great trade carried on by 
those cities. He added, that beyond Timbuctoo there 
extended, far to the east, the territory of a people who 
were neither Moors nor Gentiles, but who, in many 
of their customs, strongly resembled the Christians 
whom he now saw around him. This account, above 
all other things, animated the zeal of the Portuguese 
monarch, since it appeared indubitable that this region 
must either be the dominion of Prester John, or border 
upon it. 


The African prince was baptized as a Christian at 
Lisbon, and set sail for his own country, accompanied 
by a fleet of twenty vessels, equipped for the purpose of 
restoring him to his throne. The armament was com- 
manded by Pero Vaz. He entered the Senegal, and 
began to build a fort ; but a misunderstanding soon 
arose between him and the prince, who probably had 
by this time discovered that the Portuguese were more 
intent upon laying the foundation of their own power 
than of restoring him to his authority. A suspicion of 
treachery, or a private quarrel, speedily caused his 
death. The Portuguese commander stabbed Bemoy 
to the heart with a dagger, on board his own vessel. 
Thus the whole enterprise came to nothing, although 
the Portuguese remained in the country, and sent em- 
bassies to the most powerful states in the neighbour- 
hood of the Senegal. An establishment was also 
formed at Mina, on the Gold Coast, from which a depu- 
tation was sent to a very powerful Moorish prince, 
called Mohammed, sovereign of a country which is 
not named, but which was said to lie in the parallel of 
Cape Palmas, a hundred and forty leagues inland. 
This prince, in reply to the compliments of the Portu- 
guese monarch, replied, that he had never heard of 
any powerful kings in the world except four, who 
were the king of Cairo, the king of Alimaem, the king 
of Baldac, and the king of Tucurol. He added, that 
of the four thousand four hundred and four kings, of 
whom he was the lineal descendant, not one had ever 
received an embassy from a Christian prince, or sent 
one to him ; and that he was not disposed to make 
any innovation in this respect. The ambassadors, re- 


ceiving this plain answer, lost no time in taking their 

The Portuguese, in the course of their indefatigable 
exertions to penetrate into the interior of Western 
Africa, must have enjoyed opportunities of obtaining 
information superior to those which have fallen to the 
lot of any other European power. Some share of 
empty boasting may be suspected ; but the great Portu- 
guese population, which the English and French found 
established along the banks of the Senegal and Gam- 
bia, clearly attests the substantial truth of their narra- 
tions. The French even, in penetrating into Bam- 
bouk, found a mixture of Portuguese words in the 
language of that country, which confirmed the state- 
ment of the natives, that it had once been invaded 
and conquered by those people. It seems unquestion- 
able, therefore, that the archives of Portugal must 
contain very important information respecting this part 
of the interior. It is probably owing to the reserved 
character of the Portuguese government, that the knowl- 
edge displayed by their writers does not altogether cor- 
respond to the opportunities afforded by these sources. 
In the year 1484, Diego Cam sailed from Elmina as far 
south as the River Congo, or Zaire, which he ascended 
for some miles. The next voyage of the Portuguese 
was much more important, and led to eventful conse- 
quences. Bartholomew Diaz was despatched with three 
ships soon after, with directions to pursue his course 
south until he should reach the extremity of the conti-^ 
nent. He proceeded along the coast, and, having at- 
tained the 29th degree of southern latitude, he was 
driven out to sea by a storm. After regaining the coast, 


he found it stretching to the northeast ; he had doubled 
the terminating point of the African continent without 
knowing it. He continued his voyage as far as Algoa 
Bay, where his crew compelled him to put back. 

The Portuguese established settlements at various 
points along the coast explored by these voyagers. 
About the time of Diego Cam's voyage, they entered 
into commercial relations with the king of Benin, a 
region lying on the Gulf of Guinea. From the people 
of this kingdom intelligence was received of a great 
potentate, whom they called King Ogane, living at a 
place 250 leagues in the interior, who was said to have 
many sovereigns under his rule, and who was de- 
scribed to the Portuguese in such a manner that they 
concluded he was no less a personage than the long- 
sought Prester John. But this Ogane was, no doubt, 
merely one of the great monarchs in the interior, most 
probably of the country called Ghana by Edrisi, and 
Kano by Clapperton, which, although now much reduced, 
is represented as having been formerly one of the most 
powerful in Africa. No expedition, however, appears 
to have been undertaken to penetrate into this region ; 
but in 1487 two persons were sent out from Lisbon to 
attempt to find out the dominions of Prester John, and 
a route to India by land. One of these, proceeding 
by the way of Cairo and Aden, reached Goa in India, 
returned thence by Sofala, and afterwards penetrated 
into Abyssinia, where he was detained for some years. 
'At Sofala he heard of the great island of Madagascar. 

The information obtained, during the early period 
of the Portuguese dominion in Africa, was derived 
principally through the successive missions which were 


sent out, in the course of the seventeenth century, for 
the conversion of the natives. A century previous, 
they established themselves along the eastern coast, by 
the conquest of Quiloa, Mombaza, and Melinda, from 
the Arabs, and by the forts which they erected along 
the shore. The island of Mozambique became the 
capital of their colonies in Eastern Africa. 


The Portuguese navigators spent sixty years in voy- 
aging along the African coast before they reached the 
Cape of Good Hope. Bartholomew Diaz discovered 
this cape in the year 1486. The violent storms which 
he encountered here caused him to bestow upon it the 
name of the Cape of Tempests ; but King John of 
Portugal, elated with the prospect of a passage to India, 
which this discovery, as he justly deemed, secured 
to his nation, gave it the name which it has ever since 
borne. His preparations for the discovery of India 
were interrupted by his death. But his earnest desires 
and great designs were inherited by his successor, 
Emanuel ; and on the 8th of July, 1497, Vasco de 
Gama sailed from Lisbon on a voyage to India. The 
preparations for this expedition, which are described 
with minuteness by the Portuguese historians, show 
how important the undertaking was deemed by all the 
nation. About four miles from Lisbon, a small chapel 
stands by the sea-side. To this place, on the day 
before their departure, Gama conducted his crew and 
officers. They were about to encounter the dangers 
of an ocean unexplored, and dreaded as unnavigable, 



some others were on shore, taking the altitude of the 
sun, when, in consequence of the young man's rash- 
ness, they were attacked by the negroes with great 
fury. Gama defended himself with an oar, and was 
wounded, by a dart, in his foot. Several others were also 
wounded, and the Portuguese were compelled to seek 
their safety by retreating. The shot from the ships facil- 
itated their escape, and Gama, esteeming it imprudent 
to waste his strength in attempts entirely foreign to the 
design of his voyage, weighed anchor and steered 
toward the southern extremity of Africa. 

This portion of the voyage is described in swelling 
terms by the historian Osorio. The heroism of Gama 
was now called into eminent display. The waves ran 
mountains high ; the ships seemed now to be heaved 
up to the clouds, and now to be precipitated, by ingulf- 
ing whirlpools, to the bottom of the ocean. The winds 
were piercing cold, and blew so furiously that the 
pilot's voice could seldom be heard, and a dismal and 
almost continual darkness, which, at that tempestuous 
season, covers these seas, added new and unexpected 
horrors to the scene. Sometimes the storms drove 
them on their course to the south ; at other times they 
blew contrary, and they were obliged to lie upon the 
tack and yield to its fury, preserving what ground they 
had gained with the greatest difficulty. During the 
gloomy intervals of the tempests, the sailors, wearied 
out with fatigue and abandoned to despair, surrounded 
Gama, and implored him not to suffer them to perish 
by so dreadful a death. But his resolution was inflex- 
ible. A conspiracy was then formed against his life ; 
but it was discovered by his brother, and the cour- 



age and prudence of Gama defeated this formidable 
plot. He put the chief conspirators and all the pilots 
in irons, and he himself, with his brother and some 
others, stood, day and night, at the helm. At length, 
after having, for many days, with unconquered reso- 
lution, withstood the tempest and an arrayed mutiny, 
the gales died away, and they came in sight of the 
Cape of Good Hope. On the 20th of November, the 
fleet doubled that promontory, and steered northward 
into the Indian Ocean. 

The perils of this voyage have afforded a prolific 
theme for the muse of Camoens, whose great poem of 
the " Lusiad " was writter to commemorate the discov- 
ery of India by his countrymen. The reader may 
be gratified to see a few extracts. 

" While thus our keels still onward boldly strayed, 
Now tossed by tempests, now by calms delayed ; 
To tell the terrors of the deep untried, 
What toil we suffered, and what storms defied ; 
What rattling deluges the black clouds poured ; 
What dreary weeks of solid darkness lowered ; 
What mountain surges mountain surges lashed ; 
What sudden hurricanes the canvass dashed ; 
What bursting lightnings, with incessant flare, 
Kindled in one wide flame the burning air ; 
What roaring thunders bellowed o'er our head, 
And seemed tp shake the reeling ocean's bed ; 
To tell each horror in the deep revealed, 
Would ask an iron throat, with tenfold vigor steeled. 
Those dreadful wonders of the deep I saw, 
Which fill a sailor's breast with sacred awe ; 
And which the sages, of their learning vain, 
Esteem the phantoms of the dreamful brain ; 
That living fire, by seamen held divine, 
Of Heaven's own care in storms the holy sign, 



Which 'midst the horrors of the tempest plays, 
And on the blast's dark wings will gaily blaze \ 
These eyes, distinct, have seen that living fire 
Glide through the storm, and round my sails aspire. 

" And oft, while wonder thrilled my breast, mine eyes 
To heaven have seen the watery column rise. 
Slender at first the subtle fume appears, 
And, writhing round and round, its column rears ; 
Thick as a mast the vapor swells its size, 
A curling whirlwind lifts it to the skies. 
The tube now straightens, now in width extends, 
And in a hovering cloud its summit ends. 
Still, gulf on gulf, in sucks the rising tide, 
And now the cloud, with cumbrous weight supplied, 
Full-gorged and blackening, spreads and moves more slow, 
And, waving, tumbles to the waves below." 
The description of the Spirit of the Cape, who ap- 
S pears to the Portuguese just as they are entering the 
Indian seas, menacing them with future calamities for 
their presumptuous temerity in daring to invade his 
domains, has been pronounced by critics to be one of 
the grandest of all poetical inventions. 

" Now prosperous gales the bending canvass swelled \ 
From these rude shores our fearful course we held. 
Beneath the glistening wave, the God of Day 
Had now five times withdrawn the parting ray, 
When o'er the prow a sudden darkness spread, 
And, slowly floating o'er the mast's tall head, 
A black cloud hovered ; nor appeared from far 
j The moon's pale glimpse, nor faintly twinkling star, 
So deep a gloom the lowering vapor cast ; 
Transfixed with awe, the bravest stood aghast. 
Meanwhile, a hollow, bursting roar resounds, 
As when hoarse surges lash their rocky mounds ; 
Nor had the blackening wave, nor frowning heaven, 
The wonted signs of gathering tempest given. 

" Amazed we stood. 4 O Thou, our fortune's guide, 
Avert this omen, mighty God ! ' I cried. 



1 Or through forbidden climes adventurous strayed, 
Have we the secrets of the deep surveyed, 
Which these wide solitudes of seas and sky 
Were doomed to hide from man's unhallowed eye ? 
Whate'er this prodigy, it threatens more 
Than midnight tempests and the mingled roar, 
When sea and sky combine to rock the marble shore.' 

" I spoke ; — when, rising through the darkened air, 
Appalled, we saw a hideous phantom glare. 
High and enormous o'er the flood he towered, 
And 'thwart our way with sullen aspect lowered. 
An earthly paleness o'er his cheeks was spread ; 
Erect uprose his hairs of withered red. 
Writhing to speak, his sable lips disclose, 
Sharp and disjoined, his gnashing teeth's blue rows. 
His haggard beard flowed quivering on the wind. 
Revenge and horror in his mien combined. 
His clouded front, by withering lightnings seared, 
The inward anguish of his soul declared. 
His red eyes, glowing from their dusky caves, 
Shot livid fires. Far echoing o'er the waves, 
His voice resounded, as the caverned shore 
With hollow groan repeats the tempest's roar. 
Cold, gliding horrorf thrilled each hero's breast ; 
Our bristling hair and tottering knees confessed 
Wild dread. The while, with visage ghastly wan, 
His black lips trembling, thus the fiend began : 

u 4 O you, the boldest of the nations, fired 
By daring pride, by lust of fame inspired ; 
Who, scornful of the bowers of sweet repose, 
Through these my waves advance your fearless prows, 
Regardless of the lengthening watery way, 
And all the storms that own my sovereign sway ; 
Who 'mid surrounding rocks and shelves explore, 
Where never hero braved my rage before : 
Ye sons of Lusus, who, with eyes profane, 
Have viewed the secrets of my awful reign ; 
Have passed the bounds which jealous Nature drew, 
To veil her secret shrine from mortal view ; 



Hear from my lips what direful woes attend, 
And, bursting soon, shall o'er your race descend 

u 1 With every bounding keel that dares my rage, 
Eternal war my rocks and storms shall wage. 
The next proud fleet that through my drear domain, 
With daring hand, shall hoist the streaming vane, 
That gallant navy, by my whirlwinds tossed, 
And raging seas, shall perish on my coast. 
Then he, who first my secret reign descried, 
A naked corse, wide floating o'er the tide, 
Shall drive. Unless my heart's full raptures fail, 
O Lusus ! oft shalt thou thy children wail. 
Each year, thy shipwrecked sons shalt thou deplore ; 
Each year, thy sheeted masts shall strew my shore.' " 

Having doubled the cape, the courage of the Por- 
tuguese revived. All was now alacrity ; the belief 
that they had surmounted every danger revived their 
spirits, and the mutinous feeling toward their com- 
mander was changed to esteem and admiration. They 
coasted along a rich and beautiful shore, where they 
saw large forests and numerous herds of cattle. They 
landed in several places, took in provisions, and beheld 
those beautiful rural scenes which are so charmingly 
described by Camoens. On the 8th of December, a 
violent storm drove them out of sight of the land, and 
carried them into that dangerous current near the 
southwestern extremity of Madagascar, which made 
the Moors deem it impossible ever to double the cape. 
But Gama, though the season for navigating those seas 
was most unfavorable, was carried safely across the 
current by the violence of the gale, and, having re- 
gained the sight of the land, steered northward along 
the coast. On the 10th of January, he discovered some 
beautiful islands, with herds of cattle frisking in the 



meadows. The territory in the neighbourhood he 
named Terra de Natal. The natives were better 
dressed and more civilized than any others he had yet 
seen in Africa. An exchange of presents was made, 
and the black king was so well pleased with the po- 
liteness of Gama, that he went on board his ship to see 
him. On the 15th, toward evening, they came to the 
mouth of a large river, whose banks were shaded with 
trees laden with fruit. The next morning they saw 
several small boats, with palm-tree boughs, making to- 
wards them, and the natives came on board without 
fear or hesitation. Gama received them kindly, gave 
them an entertainment and some silken garments, 
which they received with visible joy. One of them 
could speak a little broken Arabic, and from him they 
learned that not far distant was a country where ships 
like Gama's frequently resorted. Hitherto they had 
found only the rudest barbarians on the coast of Africa, 
alike ignorant of India and of the naval art. The in- 
formation which Gama here received, that he was 
drawing near to civilized countries, gave all the crew 
great spirits, and the admiral named this place The 
River of Good Signs. 

Here, while they were careening and refitting their 
ships, the crew were attacked with a violent scurvy, 
which carried off several of them. Having taken in 
fresh provisions, on the 24th of February they put to sea 
again, and on the 1st of March discovered four islands 
on the coast of Mozambique. From one of these they 
descried seven vessels under full sail bearing toward 
them. These knew Gama's ship to be the admiral's 
by her ensign, and made up to her, saluting with loud 



huzzas and instruments of music. Gama received the 
officers on board, and entertained them with great 
civility. The interpreters conversed with them in 
Arabic. The island, in which was the principal har- 
bour and trading town, was governed, they said, by a 
deputy of the king of Quiloa ; and many Saracen 
merchants, according to their statement, were settled 
here, and traded with Arabia, India, and other parts 
of the world. Gama was overjoyed, and the crew, 
with uplifted hands, returned thanks to Heaven. 

The governor, whose name was Zacocia, was pleased 
with the presents sent to him, and imagining that the 
Portuguese we re Mohammedans from Morocco, dressed 
himself in rich embroidery, and came to congratulate 
the admiral on his arrival in the East. As he ap- 
proached the ships in great pomp, Gama removed the 
sick out of sight, and ordered all those in health to 
stand above deck, armed in the Portuguese manner, for 
he foresaw what would happen when the Mussulmans 
should discover their mistake. After the arrival of the 
governor on board, he inquired who they were, and 
what they wanted. On being told that they were sub- 
jects of the king of Portugal, his countenance suddenly 
fell. The Portuguese afterwards heard that he was a 
native of Fez, and consequently deeply imbued with 
that hatred which all his countrymen bear toward 
their nation. However, he studiously dissembled, re- 
ceived graciously their presents, undertook to report 
their business to his sovereign, and assured them that 
there could be no difficulty in procuring pilots to con- 
vey them to India. Besides the hatred of the Christian 
name, inspired by their religion, the Mohammedan 



Arabs had other reasons to wish the destruction of Ga- 
raa. Before this period, they were almost the only 
merchants of the East. Though without any empire 
in a mother country, they were bound together by lan- 
guage and religion, and, like the Jews, were united, 
though scattered over various countries. Esteem- 
ing the formidable current between Madagascar and 
Africa impassable, they were the sole masters of 
the Ethiopian, Arabian, and Indian seas, and had colo- 
nies in every place convenient for trade on these coasts. 
This crafty mercantile people clearly foresaw the con- 
sequences of the arrival of Europeans, and felt the ne- 
cessity of exerting every art to prevent such formidable 
rivals from effecting any settlement in the East. 

Zacocia, at his second visit, exhibited equal outward 
courtesy, although he was plotting the destruction of 
his guests. The Portuguese were much surprised 
when three of his attendants, on seeing the image of 
the angel Gabriel on the stern of the admiral's ship, 
fell down and worshipped it. On inquiry, they found 
that these were natives of Abyssinia, or the dominions 
of Prester John, who, though now converted to the 
Moorish faith, felt an instinctive reverence at the view 
of the object of their early adoration. The deep ven- 
eration, which every true Portuguese felt for the name 
of Prester John, gave a vast interest and importance 
to this intelligence, and they eagerly sought to con- 
verse with these persons. This was observed with 
visible jealousy by the Moors, who took immediate 
care to withdraw the Abyssinians, and to prevent their 
returning. Grounds of suspicion continued to increase, 
till at length they broke out into open hostility. Some 



boats, which the Portuguese had sent on shore, were 
attacked by twenty of the enemy's vessels, which they 
beat off, not without considerable loss. 

Upon this unequivocal proof of the hostility of the 
natives, Gama judged it advisable to set sail. The 
force of the currents compelled him to anchor again 
among some islands near the shore. Being obliged to 
land for water, the crew were met by a body of 2,000 
men, who poured in upon them clouds of arrows. 
The first discharge of artillery, however, put these as- 
sailants to flight, and caused such terror that the prince 
immediately sent an apology for what had passed, and 
an offer of a pilot, who, he assured them, was every 
way qualified to conduct them to India. The pilot 
was accordingly received on .board, and they put to 
sea, but soon found the pilot to be their mortal enemy. 
Before long, he embarrassed them among some islands, 
from which they extricated themselves with great dif- 
ficulty. There was no prospect of reaching India 
under such guidance, and Gama readily listened to 
his proposal of touching at Quiloa, where, he was as- 
sured, were a great number of Abyssinians and natives 
of India, and there could be no difficulty in obtaining 
a proper pilot. The currents carried them beyond 
Quiloa, and it was then determined to put into Mom- 
baza, which they were told contained an equal propor- 
tion of the subjects of Prester John. 

A few days brought them to Mombaza, the view 
of which afforded the adventurers singular pleasure. 
The houses were lofty and built of stone, with terraces 
and windows in the Spanish style, so that it appeared 
♦to them as if they were entering a port of Spain. 



Their satisfaction was greatly augmented when a boat 
came off, with several of the chief men on board, and 
assured them of being supplied with every thing they 
wanted. They only added, that, according to the law 
of the place, it was necessary that the vessels should 
first enter the harbour. The admiral was by no 
means gratified with this condition ; but at the end of 
a day or two, the necessities of his situation and the 
earnest entreaties of his men induced him to consent. 
The Portuguese were now on the point of falling vic- 
tims to the treachery of their perfidious friends. 

The ships weighed anchor and began to enter the 
mouth of the harbour, to the joy both of the Portu- 
guese and the Moors, the one imagining that they were 
at the end of all their troubles, and the other that their 
prey was within their grasp. In this crisis, the expe- 
dition was saved by an unexpected interposition, which 
the historian does not hesitate to consider as miracu- 
lous. The admiral's vessel coming into shoal water, 
and being in danger of running aground, a loud cry 
was raised for an anchor, and, as the casting anchor, at 
this early period of nautical science, was a complicated 
operation, the Portuguese ran from all quarters to the 
spot. The Moors, imagining that this sudden movement 
indicated the discovery of their treacherous design, 
were seized with a sudden panic ; some jumped into 
their boats, and others leaped overboard, and saved 
themselves by swimming. This extraordinary beha- 
viour opened the eyes of the Portuguese, who imme- 
diately hove about, and stood out of the harbour. They 
defeated an attempt, made by the Moors during the 
night, to cut their cables, and the next day set sail to- 
wards the north. 



They directed their course to Melinda, at which 
port they were told many Indian merchants were to 
be found. On their passage, they captured a Moorish 
vessel, from the crew of which they learned that the 
king of Melinda was hospitable, and celebrated for his 
integrity, and that four ships from India, commanded 
by Christian captains, were in that harbour. A Sara- 
cen, who was on board of the prize, and who appeared 
to be a person of rank, offered to go as Gama's messen- 
ger to the king, on their arrival near the city. They an- 
chored outside of the harbour, and this man was landed 
and proceeded on his embassy. He gave so favorable 
an account of the humanity and politeness with which 
he had been treated by Gama, that the king sent the 
admiral a present of several sheep, and fruit of all 
sorts. Gama found also the four ships from India, the 
captains of which were Christians of Cambaya, and 
confirmed all the favorable accounts which had been 
given him of this place. The city of Melinda was 
situated in a fertile plain, surrounded with gardens and 
groves of orange-trees, whose flowers diffused a most 
grateful odor. The houses of the city were elegantly 
and even magnificently built of hammered stone ; and 
the pastures in the neighbourhood were covered with 
herds of cattle. Gama was enchanted with the view 
of the place, and eagerly desired to form an alliance 
with so flourishing a state. He requited the civility 
of the king with the most grateful acknowledgments. 
He moored his ships nearer the shore, and sent an 
apology to the king, pleading his instructions, for not 
landing to wait upon his majesty in person. The apol- 
ogy was accepted, and the king, who was old and in- 



firm, sent his son to congratulate Gama, and arrange 
friendly terms between the two nations. 

The prince, who had for some time governed under 
the name of his father, came in great pomp. His 
dress was royally magnificent ; the nobles, who attend- 
ed him, displayed all the riches of silk and embroidery, 
and the music of Melinda resounded over all the bay. 
Gama, to express his regard, proceeded to meet him in 
his barge. The prince, as soon as he came up, leaped 
into it, and, distinguishing the admiral by his habit, 
embraced him with all the intimacy of old friendship. 
In their conversation, which was long and sprightly, he 
displayed nothing of the barbarian, but in every thing 
showed an intelligence and politeness worthy of his 
rank. He seemed to view Gama with great pleasure, 
and confessed that the structure and equipment of the 
Portuguese ships, so much superior to what he had 
seen before, convinced him of the greatness of that 
people. He gave the admiral an able pilot to conduct 
him to India, and requested him, on his return to Eu- 
rope, to carry an ambassador from Melinda to the 
court of Lisbon. 

After several days' stay at this place, during which 
their mutual friendship increased, and a treaty of alli- 
ance was concluded, Gama set sail for India, on the 
22d of April. In a few days the fleet passed the 
equator, and the Portuguese, with great delight, again 
beheld the stars of the northern hemisphere. Orion, 
the Great and Little Bear, were now a more welcome 
discovery than the constellations of the South had for- 
merly been to them. The pilot here directed their 
course to the east, and, after sailing about three weeks, 



they beheld the mountains of Hindostan, in the neigh- 
bourhood of Calicut. Gama, transported with ecstacy, 
returned thanks to Heaven, and ordered all the prison- 
ers to be set at liberty, that every heart might taste the 
joy of his successful voyage. 

On his return, he touched at Melinda, Zanzibar, and 
Magadoxa. One of his ships was driven on shore and 
lost, but the crew were saved. When near the Azo- 
res, Gama's brother Paul fell dangerously sick, and 
the admiral, being affectionately attached to him, gave 
up the command of his own ship to John de Saa, and 
despatched him to Lisbon, while he himself, in the 
other, put into the island of Terceira with his brother, 
in the hope of his recovery. But this hope was vain. 
Paul de Gama died in that island ; and Vasco, who 
was so much of an enthusiast in this great undertaking, 
that he would willingly have sacrificed his life in India 
to secure its success, was so overwhelmed with grief 
that he arrived at Lisbon a dejected mourner. The 
compliments of the court, and the applauses of the 
populace, were incapable of arousing him from his 
melancholy ; as his brother, the companion of his toils 
and dangers, was not there to participate in the rejoic- 
ing. As soon as he had waited on the king, he shut 
himself up in a lonely house, near the sea-side, at 
Belem, from which it was a considerable time ere he 
could be drawn to mingle in public life. 

This great expedition occupied two years and two 
months. Of one hundred and sixty men who went 
out, only fifty-five returned. They were better re- 
warded than Columbus and his companions. Gama 
was ennobled, and anpointed admiral of the Eastern 



seas, with a suitable salary, and the honor of quarter- 
ing the royal arms upon his escutcheon. Public thanks- 
givings to him were celebrated throughout the king- 
dom, and all sorts of feasts, shows, and chivalrous 
entertainments demonstrated the joy of the Portuguese 
nation. The voyage of Gama, next to that of Colum- 
bus, must be considered as the most important that 
ever was accomplished. It not only imparted to the 
world the most interesting intelligence relative to the 
continent of Africa, but opened to the nations of 
Christendom a new route to the rich and populous 
countries of the East, and led to results of the most 
momentous consequence to the people of both hem- 


The curiosity of geographers has been for many 
years strongly excited respecting a large city in the 
interior of Africa, called Tambucto, Tombuctoo, or 
Timbuctoo. The first mention of it appears to have 
been made by Leo Africanus, a Spanish Moor, who 
visited the place in the sixteenth century. He informs 
us that it was built about the year 1214, by Mansa Su- 
leiman, and that it soon became the capital of a power- 
ful state. The chiefs of Morocco and Fez conquered 
this territory and rendered it tributary, and from that 
time the communication of the Arabs with Timbuctoo 
became more frequent and regular. One of the writers 
of that nation says of it, "It is the largest city God 
ever created." Leo states that the grand mosque of 
the city and the palace of the king were built by an 
architect from Granada. Down to the sixteenth cen- 
tury, it continued to be known as a very populous city, 
and the emporium of a flourishing trade ; but no Eu- 
ropean traveller, except Leo, succeeded in penetrating 
to it. 

As early as 1618, a company was formed in Eng- 
land for the express purpose of making an expedition 



to Timbuctoo, which was believed to be situated in the 
gold country, and to be the centre round which revolv- 
ed all the commerce and wealth of Central Africa. 
Various attempts were made, by English travellers, to 
reach this famous city ; but they were either killed by the 
barbarous inhabitants of the countries which lay in their 
way, or fell victims to the climate, or were compelled 
by insurmountable obstacles to return. A new era in 
African discovery commenced in 1788. Former expe- 
ditions had been undertaken from mercenary motives, 
and the adventurers were prompted by no other feel- 
ing than the love of gold. A society was formed in 
England, under the name of the African Association, 
consisting of men eminent for rank and wealth, and 
their zeal in the cause of science and humanity. The 
object was simple; to promote the discovery of the 
inland parts of Africa, and thus to wipe off the dis- 
grace which a profound ignorance of those vast regions 
had so long thrown on the civilized nations of Europe. 
The first person whom they selected for the enterprise 
was John Ledyard, an American, who, from early 
youth, stimulated by a passion for exploring unknown 
countries, had passed the most of his life in voyaging 
and travelling. He had lived among the American 
Indians, and studied their habits and character. He 
had sailed round the world with Captain Cook, and 
had made this voyage in the humble station of a cor- 
poral of marines, rather than relinquish the adventure. 
On his return from this expedition, he determined to 
traverse the whole continent of America, from the 
Pacific to the Atlantic, but was prevented by missing 
his passage to Nootka Sound. On his arrival in Eng- 



land, he formed a new design, to travel over land to 
Kamtschatka. He crossed the British channel to Os- 
tend, took his route through Denmark to Stockholm, 
and attempted to cross the Gulf of Bothnia on the ice ; 
but as the middle of the gulf was not frozen, he re- 
turned to Stockholm, proceeded north to the Arctic 
circle, walked round the head of the gulf, and de- 
scended on the eastern side to St. Petersburg. There 
his extraordinary appearance, without stockings or 
shoes, or the means of obtaining either, procured him 
an invitation to dine with the Portuguese minister, from 
whom he obtained a supply of twenty guineas, on the 
credit of Sir Joseph Banks, and by whose interest he 
was permitted to accompany a detachment of stores to 
Yakutz, in Siberia, 6,000 miles eastward. From Yakutz 
he proceeded to Oczakow, on the Sea of Kamtschatka, 
which he was prevented from crossing by the ice. At 
Yakutz he was arrested, and conveyed, in the depth of 
winter, on a sledge, through the deserts of Northern 
Tartary, to the frontiers of Poland, where he was set 
at liberty, with the assurance, that, if he returned to 
Russia, he would be hanged. 

On his return to England, Sir Joseph Banks ac- 
quainted him with the views of the African Associa- 
tion. Ledyard engaged at once in the adventure. Sir 
Joseph inquired when he would set out. " To-morrow 
morning," replied Ledyard. He sailed from London 
in June, 1788, for Egypt, with instructions to traverse 
the whole continent of Africa, from east to west, in 
the supposed latitude of the Niger. At Cairo, he vis- 
ited the slave markets and conversed with the travel- 
ling merchants of the caravans, from whom he obtain- 



ed much valuable information. But the hopes of his 
friends were suddenly blasted. Ledyard was attacked 
by sickness at Cairo, and died without proceeding any 
further. The courage, perseverance, and general ca- 
pacity of this indefatigable traveller would probably 
have enabled him to accomplish his undertaking with 
full success, had his life been spared. 

The African Association continued their efforts. 
Various other travellers, departing from different points 
on the coast, penetrated a greater or less distance into the 
interior. Mungo Park reached the Niger, and explored 
the country for a considerable extent along its banks. 
We shall speak of him in another chapter. But no 
traveller could reach Timbuctoo. The interest which 
had been excited concerning that city continued una- 
bated. Suddenly, a new source of intelligence pre- 
sented itself in an unexpected quarter. In the year 
1815, a gentleman, connected with the African Compa- 
ny of Traders, received intelligence that an American 
sailor was to be found in the streets of London, who 
had been for several years a captive in the interior of 
Africa, and had lived six months in Timbuctoo. He 
immediately sought out this man, and found him in a 
state of complete destitution, obliged, for want of a 
lodging, to pass the night in the open street. His 
name was Robert Adams. The answers to the ques- 
tions which were put to him disclosed a series of ad- 
ventures so extraordinary as inspired a wish to examine 
him more closely. Adams was on the point of return- 
ing to the United States, and showed, at first, much 
reluctance to remain in London, but this was overcome 
by the application of powerful motives. He was after- 



wards repeatedly examined in the presence of persons 
of distinction, who took a deep interest in African af- 
fairs. The substance of his intelligence was then 
taken down in writing, and thrown into the form of a 
narrative. The British vice-consul at Mogadore, hap- 
| pening then to be in London, confirmed the fact of 
Adams's shipwreck, his release from captivity, and 
testified that the statements which he now made cor- 
responded with those formerly made to himself, and 
also with those of other credible persons who had 
been at Timbuctoo. Adams's account is as follows. 

On the 17th of October, 1810, the ship Charles, 
Captain Horton, sailed from New York, on a trading 
voyage, to the coast of Africa. Touching at Gibral- 
tar, she proceeded southerly along the African coast. 
On the 11th of October, a little to the south of Cape 
Blanco, the noise of breakers was heard, and about 
an hour after, the ship struck. The fog was so thick 
that the land could not be seen, yet all the sailors 
reached the shore by swimming. Unfortunately, at 
the first alarm, they had thrown overboard not only 
their wine and provisions, but their muskets, powder, 
and ball ; so that, whatever enemy might appear, they 
were totally unprovided with any means of defence. 
They were soon surrounded and made prisoners by 
thirty or forty Moors, who belonged to a fishing en- 
campment in the neighbourhood. The crew were 
stripped naked, and carried by the Moors on a jour- 
ney to the East. The captain, who seems to have 
lost all prudence, or to have been completely over- 
whelmed by his calamity, behaved with so little sub- 
mission to his masters, that he was soon murdered. At 



the end of forty-four days, they came to the vicinity 
of Soudenny, a negro village on the frontier of Bam- 
barra. Here, concealing themselves among the hills 
and bushes, the Moors captured and made slaves of all 
the straggling individuals who fell in their way. The 
people of the village, however, received information 
of their haunts, and, coming out in a body of forty or 
fifty, surrounded the whole party of marauders, and took 
them prisoners. After being kept four days at Sou- 
denny, they were sent forward, under an escort, to 
Timbuctoo. On the road, several Moors, who attempt- 
ed to escape, were put to death. 

They reached Timbuctoo at the end of twenty-five 
days. The Moors were thrown into prison, but Ad- 
ams, being viewed as a curiosity, was taken to the 
palace, where he continued to lodge during his resi- 
dence at Timbuctoo. He was treated with kindness, 
and seems to have been an object of much wonder. 
The queen and her attendants often sat gazing at him 
for hours together. Being for half a year at perfect 
liberty, excepting the restraint caused by the multitudes 
of people who flocked from all quarters to stare at 
him, during the early part of his. residence there, he 
had ample facilities for general observation. It is 
most unfortunate, that this grand object of European 
curiosity should have been viewed, on this occasion, by 
eyes so little enlightened or curious. Adams was 
totally illiterate, and of course deficient in the greater 
part of the knowledge requisite to qualify a man for a 
traveller. The following is his description of the 

Timbuctoo appeared to him to occupy nearly the 



same extent of ground as Lisbon ; but the houses being 
built in a very scattered and irregular manner, the 
population is probably not nearly so great. The houses 
of the principal inhabitants were square, composed of 
wooden cases filled with clay and sand, and without 
upper stories. The huts of the poor are formed merely 
of the branches of trees, bent in a circle, covered with 
a matting of palmetto, and the whole overlaid with 
earth. The king's house, or palace, is built in a square 
of about half an acre, inclosed by a mud- wall, and 
consists of eight rooms on the ground floor. All mer- 
chandise, on its arrival at Timbuctoo, is brought into 
this inclosure, where it pays a duty. Both the king and 
queen were old and gray-headed, and the queen was 
immensely fat. She was clad in a short dress, of blue 
nankin, edged with gold lace ; she wore no shoes, 
but was bedecked with a profusion of ornaments, of 
white bone or ivory, large ear-rings, and necklace of 
gold. The king's dress was a blue nankin frock, 
ornamented with gold. He had about thirty armed 
attendants, who remained constantly by him. Both 
he and his principal officers were negroes, and Tim- 
buctoo appeared to Adams completely a negro city. 
The government was despotic, but apparently mild. 
The king could call upon his subjects to take up arms, 
but did not treat or consider them as his slaves. 

The only punishment for the greatest crime was 
slavery ; but Adams saw only twelve persons con- 
demned to it during his abode there. He perceived 
no signs of any outward form of religious worship, 
except something like a prayer at funerals. The peo- 
ple are a vigorous and healthy race, but not at all 



blessed with the virtue of cleanliness. They are good- 
natured and lively, and, like all negroes, particularly 
fond of dancing. They have no physicians, except 
old women. They cultivate rice and Guinea corn, and 
their fruits are cocoa-nuts, dates, figs, and pine-apples. 
Their domestic animals are goats and camels, besides 
which they have a few cows. Hunting for slaves 
seemed to be practised upon a regular system. About 
once a month, a party of armed men, to the number of 
a hundred or more, and at one time five hundred, 
marched out for this purpose. They were usually ab- 
sent from a week to a month, and sometimes brought 
in considerable numbers. The slaves thus procured, 
also gold-dust, ivory, gum, cowries, ostrich-feathers, 
and goat-skins, were exchanged with the Moors for 
tobacco, tar, gunpowder, earthen jars, blue nankins, 
blankets, and silks. The trade with Barbary was; 
carried on by parties of Moors, who visited Timbuctoo 
during the rainy season. 

After Adams had resided six months at Timbuctoo, 
a party of ten Moors came to the town and ransomed' 
their countrymen, as well as Adams, with a large 
quantity of tobacco. They set out to cross the desert,, 
and proceeded, for thirteen days, at the rate of ten or 
fifteen miles a day, along the banks of a river, in an 
easterly direction. The country was almost desolatei 
though they occasionally saw a negro hut. At the end 
of the thirteenth day, they reached the village of Tan- 
dury, where they remained a fortnight for refreshment,, 
and then entered the Great Desert of Sahara. For 
twenty-nine days they traversed this frightful waste, 
without seeing a human being, a plant, a shrub, or a< 



blade of grass. Many of them dropped exhausted 
from their camels, and died. At length they arrived 
at the Moorish village of Woled Dleim, where they 
made some stay, and Adams was informed that he 
must consider himself as a slave. He attempted to 
escape, but was retaken, and sold to another master. 
At Wadinoon, for the first time since crossing the des- 
ert, he saw houses, and these were built chiefly of clay. 
He was also surprised to meet here two of his ship- 
wrecked companions, in the same situation with him- 
self. They were treated in the most barbarous man- 
ner, and one of them was killed. 

At last, when Adams was reduced to the lowest 
state of depression, both of body and mind, he was 
relieved in an unexpected manner. M. Dupuis, who 
held the office of British vice-consul at Mogadore, 
hearing of his captivity, despatched a messenger who 
paid his ransom and conveyed him to that place. He 
spent eight months at Mogadore, and then proceeded 
through Morocco to Spain. He arrived at Cadiz on 
the 17th of May, 1814, three years and seven months 
from the date of his shipwreck. On the conclusion of 
peace between the United States and Great Britain, he 
proceeded to London, where his history became known 
in the manner above described. 

The honor of discovering Timbuctoo is, therefore, 
due to the United States ; for Adams is the only native 
of Christendom who has visited that city and returned 
to tell the tale. Some attempts, indeed, have been 
made to throw discredit upon his narrative, but without 
effect. There is not the slightest appearance of impo- 
sition in his whole story. He did not obtrude it upon 



the world, but it was drawn from him by the reiterated 
efforts of other men. In this account we find an individ- 
ual relating travels and adventures which are, indeed, 
singular and extraordinary, but are told with the utmost 
simplicity, and bear strong internal marks of truth. 
Placed in a strange, remote, and untraveiled region, 
where a mere narrator of fables might easily persuade 
himself that no one would trace or detect him, we find 
Adams resisting the temptation — no slight one, for an 
ignorant sailor — of exciting the wonder of the credu- 
lous, or the sympathy of the compassionate, by filling 
his story with miraculous adventures, or overcharged 
pictures of human suffering. In speaking of himself, 
he assumes no undue degree of importance. He is 
rather subordinate to the circumstances of the story, 
than himself the prominent feature of it, and almost 
every part of his narrative is strictly natural and un- 
pretending. The persons best qualified to judge are 
unanimous in pronouncing the relation of Adams to be 
substantially true. M. Dupuis, a perfect Arabic schol- 
ar, took great pains in comparing his description of 
Timbuctoo with those of the Moors who had traded to 
that city, and he was decidedly of opinion that Adams 
had been there. The celebrated traveller Burckhardt 
also made the same declaration. 

In 1824, a Frenchman, named Caillie, published at 
Paris a narrative of travels in Central Africa, in which 
he professed to have visited Timbuctoo, and resided a 
long time there. The Geographical Society of Paris 
pronounced a favorable opinion of the work, and Caillie 
received a premium of ten thousand francs, and the 
order of the Legion of Honor. We have no hesitation 



in avowing our disbelief of his story, as far as Tim- 
buctoo is concerned. There is good evidence that he 
travelled in Africa, but not that he ever saw that city, 
i He gives us a drawing of the place, which contradicts 
almost every particular in his own written description. 
Caillie himself was an illiterate person, and the indi- 
viduals who compiled his narrative for him appear to 
have taken no pains whatever to separate what was 
true in his relation from what was of an opposite char- 

Sidi Hamet, an Arab, whom Captain Riley met with 
during his captivity in the desert, gave him a descrip- 
tion of Timbuctoo, corresponding, in substance, with 
that furnished by Adams, and utterly at variance with 
Caillie 's description. This Arab's account of his trav- 
els, which he related to Riley, are so interesting that 
we shall lay a specimen before the reader. 

The first expedition made by Sidi Hamet to Timbuc- 
too was with a caravan of 3,000 camels and 800 men. 
Departing from the southern frontier of the Sultan of 
Morocco's dominions, they proceeded along the sea- 
coast till they reached the border of the negro territo- 
ries, when they directed their course eastward to Tim- 
buctoo. The desert over which they passed was gen- 
erally a dead level, sometimes covered by moving hills 
of sand. In one part of their course, they travelled 
for a month without seeing a blade of grass ; and, in 
another, the ground, for ten days, was as hard as the 
floor of a house. The caravan returned by the same 
route, having suffered no disaster except the loss of 
several hundred camels. 

His next journey was far more eventful. The car- 



avan consisted of 4,000 camels and above 1,000 men. 
They took the direct route across the desert, instead 
of proceeding as before. After travelling above a 
month, they were attacked by the simoom, the burn- 
ing blast of the desert, which brought with it clouds j 
of sand. They were forced to lie for two days with | 
their faces to the ground, only lifting them occasionally j 
to shake off the sand and obtain breath. Three hun- | 
dred men never rose again, and two hundred camels 
also perished. A still more dreadful calamity awaited j 
them. On reaching a valley named Haherah, which 
they depended upon for a supply of water, all the wells , 
were found to be dry. After digging, with desperation, in 
every spot where it appeared possible that water could 
be obtained, they became maddened by their disappoint- 
ment, and all subordination was at an end. Furious 
quarrels ensued, blood was shed, many hundreds were 
killed, and every species of outrage was committed. 
To escape from this horrid scene, Sidi Hamet, with a 
party of his friends, set out for the south, and support- 
ed themselves by killing their camels, till a thunder- 
storm, accompanied by copious rain, relieved them 
from the miseries of thirst. After a long journey, they 
reached Timbuctoo. 

Sidi Hamet described the city to be about six times 
as large as Mogadore, in which case its population 
must be above 200,000. During his stay here, the 
king sent a caravan to a city called Wassanah, and 
Sidi Hamet accompanied it. After a journey south- 
easterly for about two months, they arrived at this city, 
where they remained two moons, exchanging their 
goods for slaves, gold, elephants' te^th, &c. Wassa- 



nah appeared to be double the size of Timbuctoo ; it 
was surrounded by a very thick stone wall, and a 
whole day was required to walk round it. The coun- 
try in the neighbourhood was highly cultivated. The 
houses of the city were built of stone, without cement, 
and roofed with reeds and palm-leaves. The king- 
lived in a large palace, square and lofty, built of stone, 
with a species of cement. He was said to have a hun- 
dred and fifty wives, and ten thousand slaves. He had 
also a large army, with guns, spears, bows, and arrows. 
He rode upon an elephant, attended by two hundred 
guards. The people of Wassanah were pagans, and 
traded with the white men on the western coast. 


The first settlers of Sierra Leone were the Portu- 
guese, although the attempts of the English to form 
establishments on the rivers of Western Africa were 
made at an early period. In 1588, Queen Elizabeth 
granted a patent to certain rich merchants of Exeter 
to carry on the trade of the Senegal and Gambia. 
Several voyages were, in consequence, made to that 
quarter, but apparently without any important results. 
It was not till the seventeenth century, that any great 
zeal was felt in the undertaking. At that time the ex- 
ploration of Western Africa became a favorite object, 
in consequence of the belief that gold was abundant 
there. The writings of Leo and Edrisi had represent- 
ed the interior of the continent to contain enormous 
stores of this precious metal ; and it was also known 
from the Barbary merchants, that the Moors, after 
travelling southwards across the desert, came to the 
regions of Timbuctoo and Gago, in which gold was 
abundant. It was believed, that, by ascending the 
Gambia, which was supposed to be one of the mouths 
of the Niger, they could penetrate into the farthest 
depths of Central Africa, and reach this great fountain 



of wealth. The very distance of the region, and the 
mystery in which the prospect was involved, spread a 
captivating splendor round it. 

With these views, a company was formed in 1618, 
for the express purpose of penetrating to the country 
of gold and to Timbuctoo ; for that celebrated city had 
already the reputation of being the centre, round which 
revolved all the trade and wealth of Central Africa. A 
Barbary merchant, named George Thompson, was de- 
spatched with a vessel of 120 tons, and a cargo valued 
at nearly 2,000 pounds sterling. His instructions were, 
to sail up the Gambia as far as possible, and then 
leave his vessel and prosecute the voyage in boats. 
Thompson accordingly proceeded with the vessel up 
the stream as far as Kassan, and from that point con- 
tinued his route in boats. This undertaking, however, 
had excited the jealousy of the Portuguese and mulatto 
inhabitants, who, before this time, possessed nearly a 
monopoly of the commerce of the Gambia. During 
Thompson's absence, they attacked the vessel, captured 
her, and massacred every man whom he had left be- 
hind him. Thompson was not intimidated by this ca- 
tastrophe. He formed an establishment on the river, 
and sent to England for further aid. The company, 
without any delay, fitted out a new vessel of 50 
tons, with a suitable cargo. The very first accounts, 
however, which they received of it, were most unfa- 
vorable. It had arrived at a most inauspicious season, 
and in a very short time nearly all the crew fell vic- 
tims to the climate. 

Thompson's letters continuing to express the same 
confidence and determination as ever, the company 



immediately equipped a new expedition on a larger i 
scale, consisting of two vessels, one of 200 and another 
of 50 tons, which were placed under the command of 
Captain Richard Jobson, who proved himself to be a t 
man of resolution and capacity. He arrived at the ' 
mouth of the Gambia, in February, 1621. The first 1 
intelligence which he received was that of the death of : 
Thompson. A deep mystery hangs over the fate of I 
this first martyr in the cause of African discovery. It 
appears that he had penetrated as far as Tenda, a point 
much beyond what had been reached by any European 
before him. His object was, to obtain an interview 
with a person named Buckar Sano, the chief merchant 
on the Gambia. Thompson, on his arrival at Tenda, 
learned that he was absent, but he received intelli- 
gence that the district was frequented by caravans 
from Barbary, a circumstance which he considered as 
an important earnest of success in the object of his 
mission. It is said, that, elated by the favorable pros- 
pects before him, he not only neglected to conciliate 
the natives, but treated his own men with harshness, 
and that he was killed in a quarrel with them. 

Jobson, undismayed by this disaster, determined to 
apply to the undertaking the vigor and zeal of his pre- 
decessor, combined with greater prudence. His first 
exploit was to seize a boat containing the effects of 
Hector Nunez, who was believed to have been the 
ringleader in the destruction of Thompson's vessel. 
This was the only step taken by him to avenge the 
wrong. All the Portuguese whom he met affected to 
speak with the utmost horror of the conduct of Nunez 
in that transaction, but on these professions he placed 



very little reliance. He sailed up the river to Kassan, 
and found that all the Portuguese had fled from that 
place, having offered high bribes to the negroes to as- 
sist them in destroying his vessel. The English were 
received with civility by the native chief. The town 
is described as populous, surrounded by a wide ditch 
and three successive palisades, between the two out- 
ermost of which was a space for cavalry. Many of 
the buildings had little towers attached to them, from 
which darts could be thrown. The trade of Kassan 
consisted chiefly in salt, great quantities of which were 
sent up the river. 

Jobson again set sail up the river, and arrived at a 
place called Jerakonda. Here he met two of Thomp- 
son's men, who gave him flattering hopes of trade 
higher up the river, but advised him to lose no time, 
as the waters were subsiding. Having reached Oran- 
to, where Thompson had established his post, he was 
visited by the king, Summa Tumba, a blind man, sub- 
ject to the sovereign of Cantore. After mutual com- 
pliments, Jobson says, " He made haste to drown his 
wits in the aquavitse we brought him." Presents were 
received from the neighbouring chiefs, and all the ac- 
counts which they received filled the English with 
high hopes ; but they soon found they had committed 
a capital error in not bringing a larger quantity of 
salt ; this was much the most valuable commodity, and 
always the first asked for. They left Oranto on the 
1st of January, 1621, and continued their voyage up 
the river. The country now became more mountain- 
ous and barren, and the wild animals multiplied. They 
saw, in particular, "a world of sea-horses, whose 



paths, as they came on shore to feed, were beaten with 
tracks as large as London highway." On the 12th, 
they came to the Falls of Baraconda, where ridges of 
rocks impeded the navigation ; but they succeeded in 
winding through narrow passages. Jobson hired three 
of the natives to assist in piloting him onward, but the 
difficulties of the navigation daily multiplied. The 
current set strong against them ; they could not sail in 
the night for fear of the rocks, nor could they in the 
heat of the day undertake the labor of dragging for- 
ward the boat. Their navigation was therefore con- 
fined to two or three hours in the morning and evening. 

On the 21st, passing near a very high mountain, 
some of the party ascended to the top, but could see 
nothing except deserts full of wild beasts, whose roar- 
ing was heard every night. Crocodiles appeared in 
the river, thirty feet long, which threw the negroes 
into great consternation. On the 22d, as Jobson was 
walking along the bank, he came suddenly upon a 
herd of sixteen elephants, who had been concealed 
from him by the high sedge. He discharged his piece, 
which missed the animals, but the report made them 
run off at full speed to the mountains. Their provisions 
now began to fail ; and their muskets being in bad 
order, it was difficult to procure game. On the 26th, 
to their great joy, they discovered the hill of Tenda. 
A message was immediately sent to the king, and to 
Buckar Sano, the great merchant, requesting a supply 
of provisions. On the 1st of February, that personage 
appeared, bringing with him his wife and daughter, 
and forty attendants. He was immediately regaled 
with brandy, always known to be the most acceptable 



treat to an African, and in which he indulged immod- 
erately. On recovering from his frolic, he proved to 
be a very courteous and reasonable person. He sup- 
plied them with abundance of provisions on very rea- 
sonable terms. 

The grand object of Jobson's search was gold, yet 
he affected an indifference upon this subject, and at first 
did not even name it. A small quantity, however, 
being shown to him, some peculiar emotion was doubt- 
less visible, for the African immediately began to give 
pompous descriptions of the abundance in which the 
country produced it, and the regions where it was to 
be found. He assured Jobson that he himself had 
been in a city where the roofs of the houses were cov- 
ered with gold. The captain eagerly inquired the 
situation of this African El Dorado, and was informed 
that it was four months' journey to the south. This 
information at first somewhat damped his hopes, but, 
on considering the slow rate of travelling in this part 
of Africa, he began to calculate that the golden 
city might be at no inaccessible distance. Mean- 
time the report of the arrival of white men with Euro- 
pean commodities was spread throughout the country, 
and vast multitudes flocked from every quarter, im- 
pelled partly by curiosity, and partly by the desire of 
trading. They quickly erected for themselves huts 
with the branches of trees, so that this spot, which 
before had been a complete desert, had now the ap- 
pearance of a city. The English were struck with 
astonishment at beholding, on the opposite bank of the 
river, a crowd of five hundred savage looking men and 
women with tails ; but, on a closer inspection, it turned 



out that they had skins of beasts girt round them, with 
the tails on. 

Buckar Sano treated the English with all possible 
friendship, and even made them a formal cession of 
Tenda and the district around it, demanding only a 
few bottles of brandy in return, which Jobson paid him, 
not without reluctance, esteeming it a hard bargain 
even at that price. For reasons which are not fully 
explained, he did not push his discoveries any further, 
but returned down the river. On reaching Kassan, he 
found that the noxious climate of the country had done 
its usual work. The master of the vessel and a great 
part of the crew had died, and he had only four men 
fit for service. He returned to England without delay, 
nor does he appear to have again visited Africa. — Such 
was the unproductive result of the first expedition 
made by the English into the interior of that continent. 
We find no accounts of similar undertakings till the 
time of Charles the Second. 

At the close of the war of the American Revolution, 
a scheme was formed in England for the colonization 
of a district in Africa upon liberal and philanthropic 
principles. During the war, many negroes, belonging 
to American plantations, had run away and joined the 
British army or navy. At the termination of hostilities, 
they were dispersed, with the white loyalists, among 
the Bahama Islands and in Nova Scotia, and many of 
them found their way to London, where they became 
dissolute vagabonds. As the evil soon acquired con- 
siderable magnitude, an association was formed for the 
relief of the destitute blacks. The result was a plan 
for establishing a colony at Sierra Leone for blacks 



and people of color, as free men, under the protection 
of the British government. In pursuance of this plan, 
above four hundred blacks, with some white settlers, 
were embarked and conveyed to Sierra Leone in May, 
1787. A portion of territory, twenty miles square, 
having been purchased from one of the native chiefs, a 
town called Freetown was founded. A dreadful mor- 
tality shortly after reduced the numbers of the colonists 
one half ; and a neighbouring chief, taking advantage 
of their weakness, plundered the settlement in 1789, 
and drove them to seek a shelter in Bance Island. 

In 1791 and the following year, the African Asso- 
ciation, having become incorporated and obtained a 
charter, conveyed thither a number of settlers, among 
whom were the Maroon negroes, who had been sent 
from Jamaica to Nova Scotia. Freetown was plun- 
dered by the French in 1794, and so destitute was the 
condition of the settlers, that the company entered into 
an arrangement to put the colony under the jurisdiction 
of the British government. It was afterwards placed 
by the government under the management of the Afri- 
can Institution, established for the improvement of the 
western part of Africa ; and its population was re- 
cruited by sending thither all the negroes captured in 
slaving vessels. When the African Institution was dis- 
solved, Sierra Leone was again put under the control 
of the crown. 

The British possessions at Sierra Leone extend over 
a mountainous tract of country, intersected by two 
rivers. The mountains are covered up to their sum- 
mits with thick forests, giving to the distant scenery a 
rich and beautiful appearance. Being within seven or 



eight degrees of the equator, a high degree of heat 
prevails through the whole year. There are two sea- 
sons, the wet and the dry. The former lasts from 
May to November, and is always ushered in and ter- 
minated by tornadoes. Nothing can exceed the gloom- 
iness of the weather during this period. The hills are 
wrapped in impenetrable fogs, and the rain descends 
in such torrents as to prevent the inhabitants from 
leaving their houses. More rain falls here in two 
days, than at London in a whole year. July and Au- 
gust are the wettest months. The air is then loaded 
with vapors, the effects of which are perceptible every- 
where. Iron is covered with rust ; furniture falls to 
pieces, the glue losing its tenacious quality ; paper, 
though well sized, becomes unfit for use ; woollens, 
unless frequently dried, become rotten ; and shoes and 
boots are covered with mould in a single night. The 
rapid putrefaction of animal substances, and the rapid 
fermentation of vegetable, can scarcely be conceived. 
Sierra Leone is noted for the unhealthiness of its cli- 
mate ; and some one has remarked that it has always 
two governors, a live one going out from England, and 
a dead one coming home. Major Denham, the travel- 
ler, after braving successfully the climate of other parts 
of Africa, exclaimed that his fate was sealed, when he 
was appointed governor here. Such was the fact ; he 
was carried off by a fever within six months. 








Mungo Park, one of the most famous of modern 
travellers, and who sacrificed his life to his love of 
adventure, was a native of Scotland. He was edu- 
cated as a physician, and in early life made a voyage 
to the East Indies ; on his return from which, inflamed 
with the desire of exploring unknown regions, he pro- 
posed to the African Association to undertake an ex- 
pedition in pursuance of their general design, j His 
offer was accepted, and Park arrived in the River Gam- 
bia in June, 1795. He proceeded up that river to the 
English settlement of Pisania, where he made some 
stay, applying himself to the study of the Mandingo 
language, the examination of the natural productions 
of the country, and the procuring of information, con- 
cerning the interior regions, from the free black traders, 
who all appeared to disapprove of his proposed journey. 
The country here presents an immense level surface, 
where the absence of picturesque beauty is compen- 
sated by the fertility of the soil. Besides rice, millet, 
maize, and esculent vegetables, the natives cultivate 



indigo and cotton in the neighbourhood of their towns 
and villages. Their domestic animals are nearly the 
same as in Europe ; the ass is employed in carrying 
burdens, but the plough is not used, and the substitution 
of animal for human labor is unknown in agriculture. 
The most common wild animals are the elephant, pan- 
ther, hyaena, and jackal. The negroes here have no con- 
ception of the possibility of taming the elephant ; and, 
when the practice is mentioned, term it a white man's 
lie. The shrill bark of the jackal and the deep howl- 
ing of the hysena, mingled with the incessant croaking 
of the frogs and the tremendous peals of midnight 
thunder, form a most remarkable symphony. The 
Gambia is deep and muddy, and its banks are covered 
with impenetrable thickets of mangrove. The stream 
contains sharks, crocodiles, and river-horses in im- 
mense numbers, with an abundance of excellent fish. 
I The interior districts abound in the shea toulou, a tree 
|l which furnishes vegetable butter and oil. 

On the 2d of December, at the commencement of 
! the dry season, Park took his departure from Pisania 
without waiting for the coffle, or caravan of slave-traders, 
of whose jealousy he was apprehensive. He advanc- 
ed into the kingdom of Walli, attended by two negro 
servants, and accompanied by two slave-traders and two 
free Mohammedan negroes. His baggage consisted 
of a pocket-sextant, a compass, a thermometer, an um- 
brella, two fowling-pieces, two pair of pistols, and 
some clothing. They travelled during the day, and in 
the evening they were entertained with ludicrous tales, 
resembling those of the Arabians, which the Mandingoes 
related. The chief of the first kingdom through which 



he passed received him with hospitality, but attempted 
to dissuade him from pursuing his enterprise, which he 
assured him was full of danger. Farther onward, one 
of his guides, who had received part of his wages in 
advance, absconded. Park continued his route, and 
reached the capital of Bondou, the king of which had 
caused Major Houghton, an English traveller, to be rob- 
bed. After an interview with this monarch, his Majesty 
begged Park's blue coat, assuring him that he would 
wear it on all public occasions, and inform every one 
of the donor's generosity. This request it was not 
considered safe to refuse, and Park was invited to visit 
the king's seraglio. Here he was rallied, by the Afri- 
can beauties, upon the whiteness of his skin and the 
prominence of his nose, which, they alleged, were 
both artificial. The former, these philosophical ladies 
attributed to his having been bathed in milk when 
young ; and they fancied that the nose had been ele- 
vated by pinching it, from time to time, till it acquired 
its present form. In return for these compliments on 
his features and complexion, Mr. Park, with great gal- 
lantry, praised the glossy jet of their skins, and the 
lovely depression of their noses ; but they told him 
that honey-mouth — that is, flattery — did not pass cur- 
rent in Bondou. He remarks, however, that they were 
probably not so insensible to flattery as they pretend- 
ed ; for, after his departure, they sent him a present 
of fish and a jar of honey. 

Every step of his course was beset by adventures. 
At Joag, in the kingdom Qf Kajaaga, he was surround- 
ed by an armed party, and informed, that, in conse- 
quence of having entered the country without paying 



the duties, his people, cattle, and baggage were for- 
feited. Half his property was sacrificed to this extor- 
tion. During the remainder of the day, he and his 
attendants were obliged to fast, as he was plundered 
of all his money. In this situation, while he was sit- 
ting in the street, chewing straws, he was accosted by 
an old female slave, who inquired if he had got his 
dinner. As he imagined she only mocked him, he 
did not reply ; but his boy answered, that the king's 
people had robbed him of his money, when the benev- 
olent slave took a basket from her head, and gave him 
a few handfuls of earth-nuts, and departed before he 
had time to thanjL her. At another point of his jour- 
ney, having separated a little way from his compan- 
ions, he fell in with two negro horsemen, who were so 
struck with consternation at the sight of a white man, 
.that they galloped off, muttering prayers, with looks 
of the utmost horror. Meeting his attendants, they 
informed them that they had seen a tremendous spirit 
arrayed in flowing robes, while a chill blast came rush- 
ing upon them like cold water from the sky. 

It was The design of Mr. Park to proceed easterly, 
with a view of reaching the Joliba, or Niger. But, in 
consequence of a war between two sovereigns in the 
interior, he was compelled, after he had made some 
progress, to take a northerly direction, toward the 
country of the Moors. He arrived, on the 18th of 
February, 1796, at Jarra, a frontier town of that terri- 
tory, where he remained a fortnight, till a messenger 
arrived from Ali, the Moorish king, to whom he had 
sent for permission to travel through the country. On 
his route from this place, he was robbed and insulted 



by the fanatical Moors, and at length, on the 7th of 
March, was made a prisoner by Ali, at Benowm, his 
capital. Here he suffered the most brutal treatment. 
After about four months' captivity, and a series of un- 
exampled hardships, he saw a chance of escaping, in 
the midst of the alarm and confusion caused by the 
intelligence that the enemy were close at hand. Mr. 
Park hastily packed up the few clothes which remained 
in his possession, and while his guards were asleep 
stepped over them,, mounted a horse, and galloped off. 
Having gone a few miles, he found himself pursued by 
three Moors, shouting and pointing their double-barrel- 
led guns. He now lost all hope of Reaping, and re- 
signed himself to his fate, with the indifference of des- 
pair ; but his pursuers were contenH^vith plundering 
him of his cloak. 

When the Moors left him, he struck into the desert J 
in a southeasterly direction. The heat of the sun's" 
rays was augmented by the reflection of the sand, and 
the ridges of the hills seemed to fluctuate like the sea, 
in the ascending vapor. He began to grow faint with 
thirst, and his horse became restive from fattgue. Often 
did he climb the tallest trees to look for the ascending 
smoke of some village, or the traces of human habita- 
tions ; but nothing appeared on the level horizon ex- 
cept thick underwood and hillocks of white sand. The 
leaves of the trees, which he chewed, were bitter, but 
were devoured by the horse ; and as his fate seemed 
now inevitable, he took off the bridle, and, exhausted 
with fatigue, and overpowered with sickness and giddi- 
ness, sunk upon the sand in a state of insensibility. 
Recovering, at length, he found the bridle in his hand ; 



and, as the sun was sinking beneath the horizon, he 
determined to make another effort. As the dark- 
ness increased, he perceived some flashes of lightning, 
which indicated rain. The wind immediately began 
to roar among the bushes, and when he opened his 
mouth to receive the drops, he found himself covered 
with a shower of sand. In a little while, the sand 
ceased to fly, and the expected shower arrived, when 
he spread out his clothes to collect the rain, and, by 
wringing and sucking them, quenched his thirst. Di- 
recting his way by a compass, which the flashes of 
lightning enabled him to inspect, he reached a Moorish 
watering-place about, midnight, and, avoiding their 
tents, discovered some shallow, muddy pools of water, 
by what he emphatically terms the heavenly music of 
the frogs, wno ^mpletely covered the surface. 

After many more adventures and sufferings, he re- 
ceived some compensation for his numerous hardships. 
Three weeks of most painful wandering through the 
desert at length brought him in sight of the Niger, one 
of the great objects of his undertaking. He beheld this 
great river, glittering in the morning sun, with inex- 
pressible satisfaction, and gave the most fervent thanks 
to Heaven. His discovery was the more welcome, as 
at this point stood the city of Sego, the capital of Bam- 
barra. Park's narrative here is so interesting, that we 
shall copy a portion of it. 

"Sego, the capital of Bambarra, at which I had 
now arrived, consists, properly speaking, of four dis- 
tinct towns, two on the northern, and two on the south- 
ern bank of the Niger. They are all surrounded with 
high mud walls; the houses are built of clay, of a 



square form, with flat roofs ; some of them have two 
stories, and many are whitewashed. Besides these 
buildings, Moorish mosques are seen in every quarter ; 
and the streets, though narrow, are broad enough for 
every useful purpose in a country where wheel-car- 
riages are entirely unknown. From the best inquiries 
I could make, I have reason to believe that Sego con- 
tains altogether about 30,000 inhabitants. The king 
of Bambarra employs a great many slaves in convey- 
ing people over the river ; and the money they receive, 
though the fare is only two cowrie shells for each in- 
dividual, furnishes a considerable revenue to the king, 
in the course of the year. The canoes are of a singu- 
lar construction, each of them being formed of the 
trunks of two large trees, rendered concave, and joined 
together, not side by side, but endways, the junction 
being exactly across the middle of the canoe. They 
are therefore very long and disproportionably narrow, 
and have neither decks nor masts ; they are, however, 
very roomy, for I observed in one of them four horses 
and several people crossing over the river. 

" When we arrived at this ferry, with a view to pass 
over to that part of the town in which the king resides, 
we found a great number waiting for a passage. They 
looked at me with silent wonder, and I distinguished 
with concern many Moors among them. There were 
three different places of embarkation, and the ferry- 
men were very diligent and expeditious ; but, from the 
crowd of people, I could not immediately obtain a pas- 
sage, and sat down upon the bank of the river to wait 
a more favorable opportunity. The view of this ex- 
tensive city, the numerous canoes on the river, the 



crowded population, and the cultivated state of the sur- 
rounding country, formed altogether a prospect of civil- 
ization and magnificence which I little expected to 
find in the bosom of Africa. 

" I waited more than two hours without having an 
opportunity of crossing the river, during which time 
the people, who • had crossed, carried information to 
Mansong, the king, that a white man was waiting for 
a passage, and was coming to see him. He immedi- 
ately sent over one of his chief men, who informed me 
that the king could not possibly see me until he knew 
what had brought me into his country ; and that I 
must not presume to cross the river without the king's 
permission. He therefore advised me to lodge at a 
distant village, to which he pointed, for the night, and 
said, that in the morning he would give me further in- 
structions how to conduct myself. This was very dis- 
couraging. However, as there was no remedy, I set 
off for the village, where I found, to my great mortifi- 
cation, that no person would admit me into his house. 
I was regarded with astonishment and fear, and was 
obliged to sit all day, without victuals, in the shade of 
a tree ; and the night threatened to be very uncom- 
fortable, for the wind rose, and there was great ap- 
pearance of a heavy rain, and the wild beasts are so 
very numerous in the neighbourhood, that I should 
have been under the necessity of climbing up the tree, 
and resting among the branches. About sunset, how- 
ever, as I was preparing to pass the night in this man- 
ner, and had turned my horse loose, that he might 
graze at liberty, a woman, returning from the labors 
of the field, stopped to observe me, and, perceiving 



that I was weary and dejected, inquired into my 
situation, which I briefly explained to her. Where- 
upon, with looks of great compassion, she took up my 
saddle and bridle, and told me to follow her. 

" Having conducted me into her hut, she lighted up 
a lamp, spread a mat on the floor, and told me I might 
remain there for the night. Finding that I was very 
hungry, she said she would procure me something to 
eat. She accordingly went out, and returned in a 
short time with a very fine fish, which, having caused it 
to be half broiled upon some embers, she gave me for 
supper. The rites of hospitality being thus performed 
towards a stranger in distress, my worthy benefactress, 
pointing to the mat, and telling me I might sleep there 
without apprehension, called to the female part of her 
family, who had stood gazing on me all the while in 
fixed astonishment, to resume their task of spinning 
cotton, in which they continued to employ themselves 
great part of the night. They lightened their labor 
by songs, one of which was composed extempore, for 
I was myself the subject of it. It was sung by one of 
the young women, the rest joining in a sort of chorus. 
The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, liter- 
ally translated, were these. ' The winds roared and 
the rains fell. — The poor white man, faint and weary, 
came and sat under our tree. — He has no mother to 
bring him milk ; no wife to grind his corn.' — Cho- 
rus. ' Let us pity the white man ; no mother has he,' 
&c. Trifling as this recital may appear to the 
reader, to a person in my situation the circumstance 
was affecting in the highest degree. I was oppressed 
by such unexpected kindness, and sleep fled from my 



eyes. I presented my compassionate landlady with 
two of the four brass buttons which remained on my 
waistcoat, the only recompense I could make her." 

After a short stay at Sego, where he found it unsafe 
to remain, Mr. Park proceeded down the river seventy 
or eighty miles easterly to Silla, a large town on its 
banks. He was now reduced to the greatest distress, 
and, being convinced by painful experience that the 
obstacles to his further progress were insurmountable, 
he reluctantly abandoned his design of proceeding 
eastward, and came to the resolution of returning to 
Sego, and from that place to the Gambia, by a route 
different from that by which he had advanced into the 
interior. All his money was exhausted, and he was 
glad to pay his way by writing saphies^ or charms, 
highly esteemed by the superstitious and credulous 
people of that country. It is not a little amusing, to 
think that a man may support himself by his pen 
among the brutish barbarians of Central Africa. Anoth- 
er of his hair-breadth escapes we shall give in his own 

"August 25th, I departed from Kooma, accom- 
panied by two shepherds who were going towards 
Sibidooloo. The road was very steep and rocky, and 
as my horse had hurt his feet much in coming from 
Bammakoo, he travelled slowly and with great diffi- 
culty ; for in many places the ascent was so sharp, and 
the declivities so great, that, if he had made one false 
step, he must immediately have been dashed to pieces. 
The shepherds, being anxious to proceed, gave them- 
selves little trouble about me or my horse, and kept 
walking on at a considerable distance. 



" It was about eleven o'clock, as I stopped to drink a 
little water at a rivulet, my companions being near a 
quarter of a mile before me, that I heard some people 
calling to each other, and presently a loud screaming 
as from a person in distress. I immediately conjec- 
tured that a lion had taken one of the shepherds, and 
mounted my horse to have a better view of what had 
happened. The noise, however, ceased, and I rode 
slowly towards the place from whence I thought it had 
proceeded, calling out, but without receiving any an- 
swer. In a little time, however, I perceived one of the 
shepherds lying among the long grass near the road, 
and, though I could see no blood upon him, I con- 
cluded he was dead. But when I came close to him, 
he whispered me to stop, telling me that a party of 
armed men had seized his companion, and shot two 
arrows at himself as he was making his escape. I 
stopped to consider what course to take, and, looking 
round, saw at a little distance a man sitting upon the 
stump of a tree. I distinguished, also, the heads of 
six or seven more sitting among the grass with mus- 
kets in their hands. I had now no hopes of escaping, 
and therefore determined to ride forward towards them. 
As I approached them, I was in hopes they were ele- 
phant-hunters, and, by way of opening the conversa- 
tion, inquired if they had shot any thing ; but, without 
returning an answer, one of them ordered me to dis- 
mount, and then, as if recollecting himself, waved with 
his hand for me to proceed. I accordingly rode past, 
and had, with some difficulty, crossed a deep rivulet, 
when I heard somebody halloo ; and, looking behind, 
saw those I had taken for elephant-hunters running 
after me, and calling out to me to turn back. 



" I stopped until they were all come up, when they 
i informed me that the king of the Foulahs had sent 
them on purpose to bring me, my horse, and every 
thing that belonged to me to Fooladoo, and that there- 
fore I must turn back and go along with them. With- 
out hesitating a moment, I turned round and followed 
them, and we travelled together near a quarter of a 
mile without exchanging a word ; when, coming to a 
dark place of the wood, one of them said, in the Man- 
dingo language, < This place will do,' and immediate- 
ly snatched my hat from my head. Though I was 
by no means free of apprehension, yet I resolved to 
show as few signs of fear as possible, and therefore 
told them, that, unless my hat was returned to me, I 
should proceed no further. But before I had time to 
receive an anwser, another drew his knife, and, seizing 
upon a metal button which remained on my waist* 
coat, cut it off and put it into his pocket. Their in- 
tentions were now obvious, and I thought that the 
easier they were permitted to rob me of every thing, 
the less I had to fear. I therefore allowed them to' 
search my pockets without resistance, and examine 
every part of my apparel, which they did with the 
most scrupulous exactness. But, observing that 1 had 
one waistcoat under another, they insisted that I should 
cast them both off, and at last, to make sure work, 
stripped me quite naked. Even my half-boots, though 
the sole of one of them was tied on to my foot with a 
broken bridle rein, were minutely inspected. Whilst 
they were examining the plunder, I begged them, with 
great earnestness, to return my pocket-compass ; but 
when I pointed it out to them, as it was lying on the 



ground, one of the banditti, thinking I was about to 
take it up, cocked his musket, and swore that he 
would lay me dead on the spot, if I presumed to put 
my hand upon it. 

u After this, some of them went away with my horse, 
and the remainder stood considering whether they 
should leave me quite naked, or allow me something to 
shelter me from the sun. Humanity at last prevailed. 
They returned me the worst of the two shirts, and a 
pair of trowsers ; and, as they went away, one of them 
threw back my hat, in the crown of which I kept my 
memorandums, and this was probably the reason they 
did not wish to keep it. After they were gone, I sat 
for some time, looking around me with amazement and 
terror. Whichever way I turned, nothing appeared 
but danger and difficulty. I saw myself in the midst 
of a vast wilderness, in the depth of the rainy season, 
naked and alone, surrounded by savage animals, and 
men still more savage. I was five hundred miles from 
the nearest European settlement. All these circum- 
stances crowded at once on my recollection, and I con- 
fess that my spirits began to fail me. I considered my 
fate as certain, and that I had no alternative but to lie 
down and perish. The influence of religion, however, 
aided and supported me. I reflected that no human 
prudence or foresight could possibly have averted my 
present sufferings. I was, indeed, a stranger in a strange 
land, yet I was still under the protecting eye of that 
Providence who has condescended to call himself the 
stranger's friend. At this moment, painful as my re- 
flections were, the extraordinary beauty of a small 
moss, in fructification, irresistibly caught my eye. I 



mention this to show from what trifling circumstances 
the mind will sometimes derive consolation ; for, though 
the whole plant was not larger than the top of one of 
my fingers, I could not contemplate the delicate con- 
formation of its roots, leaves, and capsules, without 
admiration. 4 Can that Being,' thought I, c who planted, 
watered, and brought to perfection, in this obscure part 
of the world, a thing which appears of so small im- 
portance, look with unconcern upon the situation and 
sufferings of creatures formed after his own image ? 
Surely not ! ' Reflections like these would not allow 
me to despair. I started up, and, disregarding both 
hunger and fatigue, travelled forward, assured that 
relief was at hand ; and I was not disappointed. In a 
short time I came to a small village, at the entrance of 
which I overtook the two shepherds who had come 
with me from Kooma. They were much surprised to 
see me, for they said they never doubted that the Fou- 
lahs, when they had robbed, had murdered me." 

His health had at different times been seriously af- 
fected by his exposure to the rainy season, and his 
incessant fatigues. At Kamalia, in the Mandingo ter- 
ritory, he fell into a dangerous illness, which confined 
him closely for upwards of a month. His life was 
preserved by the hospitality and benevolence of Karpa 
Taura, a negro, who received him into his house, and 
whose family attended him with the kindest solicitude. 
At length, after an absence of eighteen months, he 
reached Pisania, on the 10th of June, 1797, where he 
was received by his friends as one risen from the 
grave. He arrived in England in December of the 
same year. 



Mr. Park's first journey was unquestionably the most 
important which, at that period, had ever been perform- 
ed by a European in Central Africa. Though he did 
not succeed in reaching Timbuctoo or Houssa, he es- 
tablished a number of geographical positions in a direct 
line of 1,100 miles, reckoning from Cape Verde. He 
fixed the common boundaries of the Moors and ne- 
groes in the interior, and pointed out the sources of the 
three great rivers, the Senegal, the Gambia, and the 
Niger. He ascertained the easterly direction of the 
latter stream, and by this discovery rendered intelligi- 
ble the descriptions of the interior, which were for- 
merly involved in inextricable confusion. 

Oasis in the Desert. 




Important as the first discoveries of Park had been, 
they tended rather to stimulate, than to gratify, the 
ardent curiosity by which his undertaking had been 
prompted. The Niger had been viewed by European 
eyes, and the direction of its stream fully ascertained. 
But this direction, stretching from the ocean, and into 
the unknown depths of the interior of Africa, only 
tended to envelope in still deeper mystery the progress 
of that celebrated stream. Besides, all that Park 
had observed or learned respecting the nations along 
its banks was calculated to heighten the interest with 
which they had been viewed. 

In 1801, it was announced to him that it was the 
intention of the British government to send a new ex- 
pedition, on a large scale, to Africa, and he was invited 
to place himself at its head. Nothing had been able 
to damp the enthusiasm with which he embarked in 
this new field of adventure. A change of ministry, 
and some official difficulties, retarded the equipment 
of the expedition till the autumn of 1804. In the 



spring of the following year, Park, at the head of an 
exploring company, consisting of thirty-eight men, 
well armed, and provided with asses for transporting 
their baggage, took his departure from the banks of the 
Gambia. The design was, to proceed to Bambarra by 
land, and there to build boats on the Niger, and sail 
down the stream to its mouth, which Park believed 
would prove to be the same with that of the Congo. It 
was unfortunate that they set out before the rainy sea- 
son had closed, and Park appears not to have been 
aware of the fatal effects of the tornadoes at that time. 
In the very first stage of the enterprise, it had well 
nigh miscarried, through a singular accident. As they 
encamped, one day, in their march through the Tenda 
wilderness, some of the men disturbed a swarm of 
bees, which, issuing forth, attacked the whole party, 
and put them completely to the rout. The asses, 
galloping up a valley, escaped nearly unhurt ; but the 
other beasts, and the men, though flying in all direc- 
tions, were unable to escape the most severe injury 
from these assailants. The camp-fire, being neglected 
in this confusion, spread, and threatened the total de- 
struction of the baggage. For half an hour, they con- 
sidered the expedition as terminated ; but, the fire 
being checked, the party rallied, and the next day they 
were able to proceed. , Every man of the party suf- 
fered severely from the stings of the bees, and several 
of the cattle died. 

The fatal effects of the rainy season soon began to 
appear. A violent tornado of rain, thunder, and light- 
ning proved but the beginning of sorrows. In three 
days, twelve men were on the sick list, and the ground 


MUNGO park's travels. 

being all under water, there was now only the prospect 
of augmented suffering. The immediate effect of these 
storms was to produce an almost irresistible propensity 
to sleep, and to make it impossible for them to refrain 
from lying down on the wet bundles, or even on the 
inundated ground. Park's cares and anxieties increased 
every moment ; in a few days more, half the men 
were sick, or unfit for any vigorous exertion. The 
utmost difficulty was experienced in driving the cattle 
up the rocky, precipitous tracks. The natives, seeing 
the distressed situation of the party, began to steal 
every thing that was left unprotected. Near a village 
called Sullo, they observed a country beautiful beyond 
imagination. It presented all the possible diversities 
of rock and mountain, sometimes towering up like 
ruined castles, spires, pyramids, &c. They passed 
one place so closely resembling a ruined Gothic abbey, 
that they halted some time before they could satisfy 
themselves that the niches, ruined staircase, &c, were 
all natural rock. By the beginning of August, forty 
of the asses had died. Many of the men laid down, 
and declared themselves unable to proceed. Park 
himself was sick and faint, and was about to give w T ay 
to despondence, when the sight of some very distant 
mountains in the southeast revived him with the cer- 
tainty that the Niger flowed at their southern base. 

On the 12th of August, as the party were pursuing 
their march, they heard a noise resembling the bark- 
ing of a large mastiff, but ending in a hiss, like that of 
a cat. Another and a nearer bark was soon heard, 
and presently a third, accompanied by a growl. A 
hundred yards further, through an opening in the bush- 



es, three lions were seen advancing towards them, not 
following, but abreast of each other. Park advanced 
to meet them, and, when within long gun-shot, fired at 
the middle one. He did not suppose that he hit him, 
but they all halted, looked at each other, and then 
bounded away, one of them stopping and looking back 
for a few moments. Half a mile further, they heard 
another growl, but the beasts did not again make their 

On the 19th of August, they reached the summit of 
the ridge which separates the Niger from the head 
waters of the Senegal ; and Park, ascending the brow 
of a hill, once more saw the Niger rolling its immense 
stream along the plain. Although elated at the sight, 
it was impossible for him not to be struck with the 
contrast between his actual condition and the situation 
and hopes with which he had set out on the undertak- 
ing. Of thirty-eight men who accompanied him, 
seven only remained, all sick, and some of them so 
reduced as to afford little hope of their recovery. He 
admits that u the prospect appeared somewhat gloomy." 
Yet, his hopes and enthusiasm were still buoyant. 
Again to behold the Niger, and to embark on its waters, 
had long appeared the termination of his disasters, and 
the fulfilment of the highest dream of ambition. He 
reflected, also, with satisfaction, that he had already 
solved an important problem- in regard to African dis- 
covery. He had transported a party of Europeans, 
encumbered with baggage, for more than five hundred 
miles through the heart of Africa, without involving 
himself in any quarrel with the natives. He even 
considered it as proved, that the journey, if undertaken 



in the dry season, might be performed without the loss 
of more than three or four men out of fifty. 

On his voyage down the Niger, Mr. Park found the 
current more rapid than he had anticipated. The heat 
of the weather was so intense, that it appeared to him 
sufficient, at one time, to roast a sirloin of beef. He 
passed Sansanding, a busy trading town, containing 
11,000 inhabitants, where he obtained some geograph- 
ical information. Three more of his companions now 
died, among whom was his near relative and intimate 
friend, Mr. Anderson. " No event," says Park, " which 
took place during the journey, ever threw the smallest 
gloom over my mind, till I laid Mr. Anderson in the 
grave. I then felt myself as if left, a second time, 
lonely and friendless amid the wilds of Africa." The 
whole party was now reduced to five Europeans, — 
himself, Lieutenant Martyn, and three soldiers, one of 
whom was in a state of derangement. Yet his reso- 
lution suffered no change. He wrote to his friends : 
" I shall set sail to the east with the fixed resolution to 
discover the termination of the Niger, or perish in the 
attempt. Though all the Europeans who are with me 
should die, and though I were myself half-dead, I 
would still persevere ; and if I could not succeed in 
the object of my journey, I would at least die in the 
Niger." This fate was, indeed, reserved for him. 

Isaaco, a native Mandingo, who had been the guide 
of the expedition, brought home Park's letters and his 
journal, down to this point. For some time, no further 
intelligence was received of the adventurous travellers. 
In the course of the year 1806, unfavorable rumors 
began to arrive at the English settlements on the Gam- 



bia ; and Jhese increasing, without any authentic ac- 
counts to contradict them, Isaaco was despatched into 
the interior to investigate the truth. He left Senegal 
in January, 1810, and returned in September, 1811, 
bringing a confirmation of the most disastrous rumors. 
At Sansanding, he had met with Amadi Fatouma, 
another native, whom Park had engaged as his guide 
when he dismissed Isaaco. From this person Isaaco 
received a journal, which contains a detailed narrative 
of the voyage downwards, and the closing career of 
the unfortunate Park. The following are extracts. 
" We departed from Sansanding, in a canoe, on the 
27th day of the moon, and went, in two days, to Silla, 
where Mr. Park ended his first voyage. Mr. Park 
bought a slave to help him in the navigation of the 
canoe. There were Mr. Park, Martyn, three other 
white men, three slaves, and myself as guide and inter- 
preter, nine in number. We went in two days to 
Jennie. In passing Dibbie, three canoes came after us, 
armed with pikes, lances, bows, and arrows, but no 
fire-arms. Being sure of their hostile intentions, we 
ordered them to go back, but without effect, and we 
were obliged to repulse them by force. We passed 
Cabra, and here three canoes came to stop our passage, 
which we repelled by force. On passing Timbuctoo, 
we were again attacked by canoes, which we beat ofF, 
always killing many of the natives." 

They are then described as passing by several other 
places, but without any interesting particulars. They 
afterwards entered into the country of Haoussa, where, 
Amadi states, he reminded Mr. Park that his con- 
tract terminated there, and took his leave. The nar- 



rative goes on. " Next day, Saturday, Mr. Park de- 
parted, and Amadi slept in the village of Yaour. Next 
morning, Amadi went to the king, to pay his respects. 
On entering the house, he found two men, who came 
on horseback. They were sent by the chief of Yaour. 
They said to the king, ' We are sent by the chief of 
Yaour to let you know that the white men went away 
without giving you or him any thing. They have a 
great many things with them, and we have received 
nothing from them ; and this Amadi Fatouma, now 
before you, is a bad man, and has likewise made a fool 
of you both.' The king immediately ordered me to 
be put in irons, which was accordingly done, and every 
thing I had was taken from me. Some were for kill- 
ing me, and some for preserving my life. The next 
morning, early, the king sent an army to a village 
called Boussa, near the river-side. There is, before 
this village, a rock across the whole breadth of the 
river. One part of the rock is very high. There is a 
large opening in that rock, in the form of a door, 
which is the only passage for the water to pass through. 
The current is here very strong. The army went and 
took possession of the top of this opening. Mr. Park 
came there after the army had posted itself ; he, nev- 
ertheless, attempted to pass. The people began to 
attack him, throwing lances, pikes, arrows, and stones. 
Mr. Park defended himself for a long time. Two of 
his slaves, at the stern of the canoe, were killed. They 
threw every thing they had in the canoe into the river, 
and kept firing ; but, being overpowered by numbers 
and fatigue, and unable to keep up the canoe against 



the current, and no probability of escaping, Mr. Park 
took hold of one of the white men and jumped into 
the water. Martyn did the same, and they were 
drowned in the stream, in attempting to escape. The 
only slave remaining in the boat, seeing the natives 
persist in throwing weapons at the canoe, without ceas- 
ing, stood up and said to them, ' Stop throwing, now ; 
you see nothing in the canoe, and nobody but myself, 
therefore cease. Take me and the canoe, but do n't 
kill me.' They took possession of the canoe and the 
man, and carried them to the king." 

Such is the only narrative that has ever reached us 
respecting the fate of the expedition, from the time of 
its leaving Sansanding. Doubts were at first enter- 
tained of its authenticity, but, more recently, the accu- 
racy of the account has been established by a strong 
body of circumstantial evidence ; — the traditions of the 
fate of some white men, collected by Clapperton and 
Lander, on the spot where Amadi stated that Park and 
his companions had perished ; muskets, with the Tower 
stamp, seen by Lander at Wawa, and said to have 
been the property of the white men who perished at 
Boussa ; and a book of tables, seen by Lander, at 
Boussa, among the leaves of which was found a card 
of invitation to dinner, addressed to Mr. Park by a Mr. 
Watson, and dated " Strand, 9th November, 1804." 
There is no reason, therefore, for questioning the gen- 
eral truth of Amadi Fatouma's narrative. 

Park was in the thirty-fifth year of his age at the 
time of his death. What he achieved, during his two 
expeditions, shows the power of his determination and 



perseverance. Almost the whole of the country which 
he traversed may be regarded as having been, before 
him, unvisited by Europeans : and nothing of any 
moment has been added to our knowledge of it since 
his death. 


No picture of human life in that frightful waste, the 
Great Desert of Sahara, has been presented in more 
vivid and impressive colors than that to be found in 
the narrative of Captain James Riley, who was ship- 
wrecked on the African coast, and with his crew en- 
dured all the horrors of a captivity among the Arabs 
of the desert. We shall offer here a compendious ab- 
stract of this narrative. 

Riley was master of the brig Commerce, of Hart- 
ford, in Connecticut, and sailed from that place on 
the 6th of May, 1815, on a voyage to New Or- 
leans. Taking on board a cargo of tobacco and 
flour, he left New Orleans on the 24th of June, and 
arrived at Gibraltar on the 9th of August. Here, 
taking in a quantity of brandies and wines, they set 
sail, on the 23d of the same month, for the Cape 
Verde Islands. A strong current from the west set 
them, without their knowledge, 120 miles out of their 
course, and they passed the Canaries without seeing 
them. The sea ran high, and the weather was dark 
and foggy, yet they imprudently kept on under full 
sail, although signs of land were seen, not to be mis- 
taken On the night of the 28th of August, they sud- 

Riley's Adventures. — The Attack. 

The March. 

riley's adventures. 


denly found themselves among breakers, and, before 
they could put the vessel about, she struck upon the 
rocks, a little to the north of Cape Bojador. She soon 
bilged, filled with water, and threatened every mo- 
ment to go to pieces. The crew got out the longboat, 
and succeeded in getting some provisions and valuable 
articles on shore. While employed in erecting a tent, 
something like a human being was seen at a distance, 
who approached the shipwrecked party. He is thus 
picturesquely described by Riley. 

" He appeared to be about five feet seven inches 
high, and of a complexion between that of an Ameri- 
can Indian and a negro. He had about him a piece 
of coarse woollen cloth, that reached from below his 
breast, nearly to his knees. His hair was long and 
bushy, resembling a pitch-mop, standing out every 
way, six or eight inches from his head. His face re- 
sembled that of an ourang-outang, more than a human 
being. His eyes were red and fiery. His mouth, 
which stretched nearly from ear to ear, was well lined 
with sound teeth ; and a long, curling beard, which 
depended from his upper lip and chin down upon his 
breast, gave him altogether a most horrid appearance ; 
and I could not but imagine that those well set teeth 
were sharpened for the purpose of devouring human 
flesh, particularly as I conceived I had before seen, in 
different parts of the world, the human face and form 
in their most hideous and terrific shapes. He ap- 
peared to be very old, yet fierce and vigorous. He 
was soon joined by two old women of similar appear- 
ance, whom I took to be his wives. These looked a 
little less frightful, although their two eye-teeth stuck 


riley's adventures. 

out like hog's tusks, and their tanned skins hung in 
loose plaits on their faces and breasts ; but their hair 
was long and braided. A girl from eighteen to twenty, 
who was not ugly, and five or six children of different 
ages and sizes, were also in company ; these were en- 
tirely naked." 

This grotesque group of savages were armed with 
an English hammer, an ax^, and long knives, suspend- 
ed from their necks. They soon began an indiscrimi- 
nate plunder, which the Americans did not resist, 
dreading, that, if enraged, they might collect more 
force. The Arabs emptied trunks, boxes, and pack- 
ages. They cut open the beds, and amused them- 
selves with seeing the feathers fly before the wind, 
valuing only the cloth. Some fine silk lace veils and 
handkerchiefs they wrapped round their legs, or about 
their heads like turbans. After this visit, the crew 
again turned their eyes to the boat, with difficulty got 
it out again to sea, and reached the wreck, which was 
still above water. Soon after, a larger body of Arabs 
made their appearance, and by friendly signs invited 
the captain to come on shore. He was so far over- 
come by false confidence, or the necessity of his situa- 
tion, as to comply. The moment they discovered him 
to be in their power, they began to threaten him by 
pointing their spears and daggers at every part of his 
body. The object of these menaces was to induce 
him to bring his treasure on shore, and deliver it into 
their hands. A large basket of dollars was according- 
ly sent to land, which they took and divided, but im- 
mediately renewed their threats in order to extort more. 
Riley then made signs for his crew to send on shore 

riley's adventures. 


an old man, called Antonio Michel, who, on his arrival, 
immediately attracted the attention of the savages. 
While thus occupied, Riley succeeded in throwing him- 
self into the sea, and regained the boat by swimming. 
He believed that the old man was immediately thrust 
through with a spear ; but Robbins, one of the crew 
who returned to the United States, and published his 
narrative after Riley, assures us that this was not done. 

The longboat was leaky and rickety, but it was their 
only means of deliverance. Their object now was to 
get to sea ; but a terrible surf broke upon the shore. 
They all made up their minds, however, that it was 
better to be swallowed up altogether, than to be mas- 
sacred, one after the o'ther, by the ferocious Arabs. 
They therefore set out, and passed through the roar- 
ing breakers with perfect safety, in a manner which 
the narrator unhesitatingly refers to a special interpo- 
sition of Providence. They made their way through 
the ocean in this crazy bark, two men being occupied 
in bailing out the water that came in at every pore. 
At length, on the 2d of September, their stock of pro- 
visions and water was on the point of being exhausted ; 
the leaks had increased to such a degree, that the 
united efforts of the crew could with difficulty keep 
the boat from sinking ; and it appeared every moment 
possible, that the next wave might bury them in the 
bosom of the ocean. They had hoped to be taken up 
by some vessel, but not a sail was seen. Riley then 
represented to his crew that no resource remained but 
to steer towards the land, where they could but perish, 
which was sure to be their fate if they continued at 
sea. The sailors, with heavy hearts, admitted the 

240 riley's adventures. 

force of this reasoning, and the boat was put about for | 
the coast. 

On the 7th of September, they made land at Cape | 
Barbas, a little to the north of Cape Blanco. The | 
shore was here lined with a face of perpendicular and 
broken cliffs, where they attempted in vain to find an 
ascent. They marched for miles along the foot of this 
rocky wall, and were at length obliged to spend the night 
on the sand. The next morning they rose somewhat 
refreshed, and found a spot which seemed to afford a 
possibility of an ascent. There, clinging for life to the 
loose rock, Riley scrambled from steep to steep, till, by 
a most dangerous and tedious path, he at length reached 
the summit of the cliff. But, io his infinite horror and 
despair, he beheld before him an immeasurable plain 
" without a tree, or shrub, or spear of grass, that could 
give the smallest relief to expiring nature." He fell 
senseless to the ground, and it was some time before 
his consciousness was restored. His companions, who 
were far behind, though previously warned, expe- 
rienced a similar shock at the first view of this wide 
expanse of desolation. They fell to the earth, ex- 
claiming, " ' T is enough ! here we must breathe our 
last ! " Riley, however, after the first shock was over, 
encouraged them still to hope, and led them on along 
the top of the cliffs. As evening approached, one of 
them exclaimed, " A light ! " This object, being soon 
seen by all, produced an electric influence, and dif- 
fused new life and spirits through the party. 

Arab bondage, which had before seemed the most 
dreadful of evils, was now in a manner welcome, after 
so near a prospect of perishing. It was imprudent to 

riley's adventures. 


approach these people during the night ; they therefore 
waited till the next day, when they went up and pre- 
sented themselves in a humble posture. The Arabs, on 
seeing them, set up a furious yell, and immediately be- 
gan to fight with each other for the possession of this un- 
expected prey. " They cut at each other," says Riley, 
" over my head and on every side of me, with their 
bright weapons, which fairly whizzed through the air 
within an inch of my naked body, and on every side of 
me, now hacking each other's arms apparently to the 
bone, then laying their ribs bare with gashes, while 
their heads, hands, and thighs received a full share of 
cuts and wounds. The blood, streaming from every 
gash, ran down their bodies, coloring and heightening 
the natural hideousness of their appearance. I had 
expected to be cut in pieces in this dreadful affray, but 
was not injured. " 

These Arabs belonged to one of the poorest, most 
miserable, and most savage tribes of the whole desert. 
They were in number about a hundred, men, women, and 
children ; and their camels, large and small, amount- 
ed to four or five hundred. They divided the captives 
among them, and set off into the desert. The prison- 
ers were obliged to drive the camels on foot, naked 
as they were, in a scorching sun, sinking to the knees 
in the sand at every step, or cutting their bare feet on 
the sharp, craggy rocks. If they showed any signs of 
fatigue, they were forced onward by the application 
of a stick to their sore backs by their unfeeling drivers, 
who only laughed at their misery, and amused them- 
selves by whipping them forward. On arriving at the 
summit of the rocky height, they selected five camels, 


riley's adventures. 

which the five Americans of Riley's party were order- 
ed to mount. They had no saddles, but were placed 
behind the humps, to which they were obliged to cling 
by grasping the long hair with both hands. " The 
backbone was covered only with skin, and as sharp as 
the edge of an oar-blade, as steep as the roof of a 
house, and so broad as to keep the legs extended to 
their utmost stretch." The Arabs had small round 
saddles. Thus mounted, the whole party set off to the 
eastward at a great trot. The heavy motions of the 
camel are described as not unlike those of a small ves- 
sel tossed by a head sea, and so violent that they exco- 
riated the naked bodies of the riders. The blood drip- 
ped from their bodies ; the intense heat of the sun 
scorched and blistered them; so that they were com- 
pletely covered with sores. Their route lay over a 
plain, flat, hard surface of sand, gravel, and rock, 
covered with small, sharp stones. When night came 
on, there was no indication of stopping. They con- 
tinued their journey, and the cold night-wind chilled 
their blood, and stopped it from trickling down their 
lacerated bodies. They begged permission to dismount, 
and endeavoured to excite the compassion of the wom- 
en, under whose charge they were left, entreating 
them for a little water ; but these hags paid no atten- 
tion to their distress, and kept the camels running 
faster than before. 

Riley then purposely slipped off his camel, at the 
risk of breaking his neck. u This was the first time," 
says he, " that I had attempted to walk barefoot since 
I was a schoolboy. We were obliged to keep up 
with the camels, running over the stones, which were 

riley's adventures. 


nearly as sharp as gun-flints, and cutting our feet to the 
bone at every step. It was here that my fortitude and 
my philosophy failed to support me. I cursed my fate 
aloud, and wished I had rushed into the sea before I 
gave myself up to these merciless beings in human 
form. It was now too late. I would have put an 
immediate end to my existence, but had neither knife 
nor any other weapon with which to perform the deed. 
I searched for a stone, intending, if I could find a loose 
one sufficiently large, to knock out my own brains 
with it, but searched in vain. This paroxysm passed 
off in a minute or two, when reason returned." 

About midnight, they halted in a small dell, or valley, 
fifteen or twenty feet below the surface of the desert, 
after travelling about forty miles. Here, for the first 
time, they got about a pint of pure camel's milk each, 
which allayed, in some measure, the cravings of hun- 
ger. The wind was chilling cold ; they lay on sharp 
stones, perfectly naked, their bodies blistered and man- 
gled, the stones piercing their naked flesh to the ribs. 
None of them closed their eyes during the night. 

The face of that part of the desert which they next 
entered appeared as smooth as the surface of the ocean 
in a calm, and camels could be seen in every direction, 
like ships at sea, when just appearing in the horizon. 
In the evening, when they halted, Riley asked the 
women for a little water ; but they not only laughed 
and spat at him, but drove him away from under the 
shade of the tent. The following day, the caravan fell 
in with a couple of Moors, who had come from the 
Sultan of Morocco's dominions, w r ith blankets and blue 
cloth to sell. One of them, named Sidi Hamet, gave 


riley's adventures. 

the captives some water, which was the first fresh 
water they had tasted since they left their boat. This 
saved the life of one of them, named Clark, who lay 
stretched out on his back, apparently in the last agonies 
of death. Sidi Hamet was a man of some humanity, 
although avarice chiefly actuated him in his intercourse 
with the captives. After questioning Riley very close- 
ly as to his hopes of redemption at Mogadore, and what 
money he would promise to pay him if he would carry 
him thither, he purchased him and four others of the 

Sidi Hamet then entertained them with a feast, by 
killing a meagre old camel. This was the first animal 
food which they tasted in the desert, except a few snails, 
which seem to be the only sort of " game " in that 
most inhospitable region. He also clothed them, after 
a fashion, giving to one a checked shirt, to another a 
piece of an old sail, and to the others goat-skins. From 
this date, their sufferings were less severe, though at 
times they were tormented with the extremes of hunger 
and thirst. Hamet set off with his slaves for Mogadore, 
telling Riley that if he was not well paid for them, 
according to promise, he Avould cut his throat ; for he 
said that he and his brother had expended all their 
property in purchasing them. As they journeyed to 
the north, they found a delightful spring of fresh water, 
covered with a large rock, from fifteen to twenty feet 
high, " cool, clear, fresh, and sweet." Here they 
remained some time, before they could water their 
camels, the largest of which drank sixty gallons, the 
poor creatures not having tasted water, as Riley as- 
sures us, for twenty days. The spot where this spring 

riley's adventures. 


was found is described as the side of a valley, which 
appeared to be the head of an arm of the sea, although 
the country was three hundred miles inland. The lofty 
banks, distant from each other eight or ten miles, were 
worn and chafed, as if by water ; the level bottom was 
incrusted with sea salt. The spring was about a hun- 
dred feet below the surface of the desert, and nearly 
four hundred feet above the bottom of the valley, over 
which, as they marched, the salt crumbled under the 
feet of the camels like a thin crust of snow. They 
climbed, with difficulty, the northern side of the val- 
ley, and entered upon the desert in that quarter, which 
had the same appearance as that on the opposite side ; 
no undulation of surface, neither rock, tree, nor shrub, 
to arrest the view within the horizon ; all was a dreary 
and solitary waste. Sidi Hamet cried out that he saw 
a camel ; but Riley could discern nothing for two hours 
afterwards, when he saw a little speck upon the hori- 
zon, and it was not till sunset that they came up with 
a large drove of camels. 

Continuing their march for some days, they arrived 
among immense sand-hills, piled up, like drifted snow, 
to the height of two hundred feet, without a shrub or a 
blade of grass to relieve the eye. The wind blew 
violently, and buried the travellers in clouds of sand, 
which, driven forcibly against their sore bodies, gave 
them exquisite pain. The next night, they thought 
they heard the roaring of the sea, and were informed 
by Sidi Hamet that the ocean was not far distant. 
They met with two camels with sacks on their backs, 
; and the owners being fast asleep on the sand, Sidi and 
| his brother had no scruple in taking the beasts, and 


riley's adventures. 

their lading with them. The owners pursued them, 
however, and got back their camels, but with the loss of 
some of their lading of barley, a bag of gold-dust, and 
a few other things. On the 19th of October, the cara- 
van arrived at Wadinoon, where they saw, with the 
utmost delight, a prospect to which their eyes had long 
been unaccustomed, — something like vegetable nature, 
green bushes and shrubs, rivulets bordered with date- 
trees, and cows, asses, and sheep feeding. This place 
appeared to be a great thoroughfare, and several armed 
parties passed on toward the desert. In a short time, 
they reached a cultivated country, in whixm were sev- 
eral walled villages, surrounded with gardens. As they 
approached the Moorish dominions, Seid, the brother, 
who had all along been suspicious of Riley's story 
about his acquaintance at Mogadore, and had often 
wished to sell two of the Americans, whom he claimed 
as his own slaves, was now determined to go no fur- 
ther ; and he therefore laid hold of the two unfortu- 
nate men, in order to carry them back to the first 
horde of Arabs he should meet, and sell them for 
what they would bring. Sidi's wrath was kindled at 
his brother's obstinacy, and a scene followed, which is 
thus described by Riley. 

" He leaped from his camel, and, darting like light- 
ning up to Seid, laid hold of him, and disengaged Mr. 
Savage and Horace from his grasp. They clenched 
each other like lions, and, with fury in their looks, 
each strove to throw the other on the ground. Seid 
was the largest and the stoutest man. They writhed 
and twisted in every shape until both fell, but Sidi 
Hamet was the undermost. Fire seemed to flash from 

riley's adventures. 


their eyes, whilst they twisted around each other like 
a couple of serpents, until, at length, Sidi Hamet, by 
superior activity or skill, disengaged himself from his 
brother's grasp, and both sprang upon their feet. In- 
stantly, they snatched their muskets at the same mo- 
ment, and each, retiring a few paces, with great rapid- 
ity and indignation, tore the cloth covers from their 
guns, and presented them at each other's breasts with 
dreadful fury. They were not more than ten yards 
asunder, and both must have fallen dead had they 

After a few moments' suspense, however, Sidi Ha- 
met fired his musket in the air, and, walking up to 
Seid, exclaimed, 44 Now I am unarmed, — fire ! Your 
brother's head is ready to receive your balls ; glut 
your vengeance on your benefactor ! " A violent dis- 
pute followed, in which the brutal Seid, seizing the boy 
Horace by the throat, dashed him to the ground, where 
he lay for some time senseless. At length, matters 
were amicably adjusted, and they passed the night in a 
village, where Sidi Hamet told them he should depart 
for Mogadore, and that Riley must write a letter to his 
friend at that place, desiring him to pay the money for 
the ransom of the whole party. 44 If not," said he, 
44 you must die, for having deceived me, and your men 
shall be sold for what they will bring." He added, 
44 1 have fought for you, have suffered hunger, thirst, 
and fatigue, for I believe God is with you. I have 
paid away all my money on your word alone." 

Riley being furnished with a reed and some black 
liquor, wrote a letter, addressed to the English, French, 


riley's adventures. 

Spanish, or American consul, or sfny Christian mer- 
chants, at Mogadore. He painted to them his suffer- 
ings in lively colors, and implored them to advance 
the money necessary for his ransom, assuring them of 
reimbursement, by references to respectable houses in 
the different commercial cities. In eight days an an- 
swer was received ; and the sight of a letter caused 
Riley such overwhelming emotion, that he was unable 
to read it, and sunk instantly to the ground. It was 
found to be from Mr. William Willshire, the English 
consul, — the Americans, at that time, not having any 
commercial agent in Mogadore, — and was couched in 
the most humane and sympathizing terms, assuring 
them that their ransom would be immediately advanc- 
ed. The letter was accompanied by a supply of pro- 
visions and clothes. 

The poor captives were now conducted onward, and 
on the 7th of ^November came in sight of Mogadore, 
where they espied the American flag, which Mr. 
Willshire had hoisted on his house to greet their ar- 
rival. " At this blessed and transporting sight," says 
Riley, " the little blood remaining in my veins gushed 
through my glowing heart with wild impetuosity, and 
seemed to pour a new flood of life through every part 
of my exhausted frame." They were presently met 
by Mr. Willshire, whose kind reception and commis- 
eration for their sufferings does honor to human na- 
ture. Riley describes his condition, at this time, as 
deplorable to the last degree. Several of his bones 
were divested not only of flesh, but even of skin, and 
were bleached perfectly white, like the dry bones of 

riley's adventures. 


the desert. His weight had been reduced, by starva- 
tion and suffering, from two hundred and forty pounds 
to ninety ; and he scarcely dared to say that several 
of his companions did not weigh forty pounds. By 
due care and attention, however, they all, in time, 


The travels of Denham, Clapperton, and Oudney, 
in the years 1822, 1823, and 1824, laid open to the 
world many regions in the north and centre of Africa, 
the very existence of which had been before unknown, 
and others, of which only a faint rumor had reached 
across the immense deserts by which they were in- 
closed. The British government, who had been for 
some time on the watch for the means of exploring 
Africa, at length found a favorable opening at the court 
of Tripoli, and made an arrangement with that power 
for sending an expedition through its territory to Bor- 
nou, in Central Africa. The persons above mentioned 
were selected for this purpose, and took their departure 
from Tripoli in March, 1822. They directed their 
course to Mourzouk, under the guidance of an Arab 
merchant, named Boo Khaloom. 

As the word merchant, in this part of Africa, sug- 
gests an idea of something very different from that 
quiet, prudent, and diligent personage who sits in his 
snug counting-room on Long Wharf, computing his 
gains, w T hile his ships are tossing on the ocean, we will 
give a short description of the Arab trader. . He is a 



personage, who, instead of u keeping shop " and deal- 
ing in " consignments," must accompany his invest- 
ments to their remotest destinations, and through all 
the perilous and desolate tracts that intervene. He 
must renounce every local attachment, and every feel- 
ing of country. His home is wherever the human foot 
can wander. His sole delight is in this roving and 
irregular life ; and even at an advanced age, and after 
passing through numberless dangers, his mind is often 
wholly occupied in planning new expeditions. 

To the character of a wanderer, he must add anoth- 
er. Passing through regions where no law prevails 
but that of the strongest, and along routes everywhere 
beset by predatory hordes, he must arm himself and 
his followers, and must defend, as a warrior, what he 
has earned as a merchant. Unhappily, he does not 
often stop here ; but, imitating those with whom he 
contends, learns, at last, to consider plunder as a cheap, 
and even honorable, mode of replenishing his stores. 
He is equally at home in plundering the defenceless, 
driving an honest trade, or fighting like a hero on the 
field of battle. Thief, merchant, pedler, prince, and 
warrior, he holds himself ready, according to circum- 
stances, to act in either of these capacities. His fol- 
lowers, being constantly armed and in movement, be- 
come a sort of little standing army, and, by their guns 
and equipments, acquire a very formidable military 
character. As the buying and selling prices, on the 
opposite sides of the desert, are in the ratio of 150 to 
500, not to mention plunder, the merchant who gets 
safely through a series of such adventures generally 
acquires enormous wealth, and often rivals the pomp 
of princes. 



Of this singular class of persons, Boo Khaloom was 
rather a favorable specimen. He had accumulated 
immense wealth, and was considered the second man 
in Fezzan, rivalling even the Sultan. He made his 
entry into the great towns with almost royal pomp, 
clad in robes of silk and velvet, embroidered with gold. 
One of these garments cost him 400 dollars. His fine 
Tunisian horse was also covered with velvet cloth, rich- 
ly embroidered ; and his followers, superbly dressed 
and caparisoned, rode in a long train behind him. To 
his countrymen he was so liberal and generous, that 
he was considered almost as the common benefactor of 
Fezzan. In pursuing a trade, so much of which was 
evil, he showed a great preference for the lawful and 
honorable departments. He made a boast, also, of 
treating the victims of his predatory excursions with a 
humanity of which there were few other examples, 
and of softening to the utmost the evils of their unhap- 
py condition. He was compelled to deeds of violence 
chiefly by the urgency of his followers, and the im- 
possibility of otherwise holding them attached to him. 

On leaving Mourzouk, the travellers entered imme- 
diately into a desert which occupied them three months 
in crossing. For some time they were relieved by 
meeting, though at vast distances from each other, 
little towns situated in oases, or watered valleys, the 
lofty palm-trees of which were eagerly looked out for 
as landmarks by the travellers. After leaving Bilma, 
there occurred a tract utterly desolate, which it re- 
quired thirteen days to cross. They had not proceed- 
ed far, when an appalling spectacle struck their eyes. 
Even within the limits of Fezzan, the ground began to 



be strewed with human skeletons. From sixty to a 
hundred were passed in a day, and about the wells of 
El Hammar they were found lying in countless mul- 
titudes. Major Denham was once roused from a reve- 
rie by the sound of two of them crackling beneath his 
horse's feet. On many of the plains, salt was so abun- 
dant, that the earth seemed to be glazed or frosted 
over with it ; the clods were full of cracks, and so hard 
as to make it nearly impossible to break them. In 
other places, the salt was beautifully crystallized, like 
the finest frost-work. 

After thirteen days' travelling through a scene of 
utter dreariness, they were at length gladdened by 
some symptoms of vegetable life. Scattered clumps 
of herbage appeared, and some stunted shrubs on 
which the camels browsed ; herds of gazelles crossed 
their path, and the footsteps of the ostrich were traced. 
This spot was occupied by a roving tribe called Tib- 
boos, who hung upon the skirts of the caravan, on the 
watch for whatever man or animal might be separated 
from it. 

The country soon rapidly improved, and exhibited 
beautiful groves of trees ; and at length they reached 
Lari, a considerable town in the territory of Kanem. 
This was a most important point in their journey. 
From the summit of the eminence on which Lari stood, 
they beheld a sight which had never till then been 
gazed upon by a European ; — " the great Lake Tchad, 
glowing with the golden rays of the sun in its strength." 
Major Denham hastened to gratify his eyes with the 
prospect of this greatest of the inland African waters. 
" By sunrise," said he, " I was on the borders of the 



lake, armed for the destruction of the multitudes of 
birds, who, all unconscious of my purpose, seemed, as 
it were, to welcome our arrival. Flocks of geese and 
wild ducks, of a most beautiful plumage, were quietly 
feeding at within half-pistol shot of where I stood ; 
and not being a very keen or inhuman sportsman, — 
for the terms appear to me to be synonymous, — my 
purpose of deadly warfare was almost shaken. As I 
moved towards them, they only changed their places 
a little to the right or left, and appeared to have no 
idea of the hostility of my intentions. All this was 
really so new, that I hesitated to abuse the confidence 
with which they regarded me, and very quietly sat 
down to contemplate the scene before me. Pelicans, 
cranes, four or five feet in height, gray, variegated, 
and white, were scarcely so many yards from my side, 
and a bird between a snipe and a woodcock. Im- 
mense spoonbills of a snowy whiteness, widgeon, teal, 
yellow-legged plover, and a hundred species of — to 
me, at least, unknown — water-fowl, were sporting be- 
fore me ; and it was long before I could disturb the 
tranquillity of the dwellers on these waters by firing a 
gun. The soil, near the edges of the lake, was a firm, 
dark mud ; and in proof of the great overflowings and 
recedings of the water, even in this advanced dry sea- 
son, the stalks of the gussub of the preceding year 
were standing in the lake, more than forty yards from 
the shore. The water is sweet and pleasant, and 
abounds with fish." 

After travelling eight days along the western shores 
of the lake, they came to a great river called the Yeou, 
flowing from the west, and falling into the Tchad. 



The Arabs of the party called it the Nile. Three days 
after, the caravan arrived at Kouka, the capital of Bor- 
nou. The entrance of the travellers into this place is 
described in the following striking manner. " I had 
ridden on a short distance in front of Boo Khaloom, 
with his train of Arabs all mounted and dressed out in 
their best apparel, and, from the thickness of the trees, 
soon lost sight of them, fancying that the road could 
not be mistaken. I rode still onwards, and, on ap- 
proaching a spot less thickly planted, was not a little 
surprised to see in front of me a body of several thou- 
sand cavalry drawn up in line, and extending right 
and left quite as far as I could see ; and, checking my 
horse, I awaited the arrival of my party, under the 
shade of a wide-spreading acacia. The Bornou troops 
remained quite steady, without noise or confusion, and 
a few horsemen, who were moving about in front, giv- 
ing directions, were the only persons out of the ranks. 
On the Arabs' appearing in sight, a shout or yell was 
given by the Sheik of Bornou's people, which rent the 
air ; a blast was blown from their rude instruments of 
music equally loud, and they moved on to meet Boo 
Khaloom and his Arabs. 

" There was an appearance of tact and management 
in their movements which astonished me. Three sepa- 
rate small bodies from the centre and each flank kept 
charging rapidly towards us, to within a few feet of 
our horses' heads, without checking the speed of their 
own until the moment of their halt, while the whole 
body moved onwards. These parties were mounted 
on small but very perfect horses, who stopped and 
wheeled from their utmost speed, with great precision 



and expertness, shaking their spears over their heads, 
and exclaiming ; Blessing ! Blessing ! Sons of your 
country ! Sons of your country ! ' and returning quick- 
ly to the front of the body, in order to repeat the charge. 
The Sheik's negroes, as they were called, meaning the 
black chiefs and favorites, all raised to that rank by 
some deed of bravery, were habited in coats of mail, 
composed of iron chain, which covered them from the 
throat to the knees, dividing behind, and coming on 
each side of the horse. Some of them had helmets, 
or rather skull-caps, of the same metal, with chin- 
pieces, all sufficiently strong to ward off the stroke of 
a spear. Their horses' heads were also defended by 
plates of iron, brass, and silver, leaving just sufficient 
room for the eyes of the animal." 

The travellers were admitted to an audience with the 
Sheik, whom they found to be a good-looking man of 
about forty-five. , They presented their letter of intro- 
duction from the Bashaw of Tripoli, which he read, 
and inquired what was their object in coming. They 
answered, " To see the country merely, and to give an 
account of its inhabitants, produce, and appearance, as 
our Sultan was desirous of knowing every part of the 
globe." The Sheik replied, that they were welcome, 
and whatever he could show them would give him 
pleasure. He provided dwellings for them, and they 
took up their residence in the town. 

The limits of the empire of Bornou appear not to 
be well fixed. The population is reckoned at five mil- 
lions. Its most striking geographical feature is the 
Lake Tchad, which is about 200 miles in length, and 
150 in breadth, and thus forms one of the largest 



bodies of fresh water in the world. Its dimensions 
vary in an extraordinary manner, according to the 
season ; a space of many miles along its shores, usual- 
ly dry, is submerged during the rains. This inun- 
dated tract, covered with impenetrable thickets and 
with rank grass twice the height of a man, is unfit for 
human habitation, and becomes a great rendezvous for 
wild beasts, — elephants of enormous dimensions, be- 
neath whose reclining bodies large shrubs, and even 
young trees were seen crushed ; lions, panthers, leop- 
ards, large flocks of hyenas, and snakes of monstrous 
bulk. It is a disastrous era when the returning waters 
dislodge these monsters of the wood, and drive them 
to seek their prey among the habitations of men. At 
this period, travellers and the persons employed in 
watching the harvests often fall victims ; and the hy- 
enas have been known to carry walled towns by 
storm, and devour the herds which had been driven 
into them for shelter. 

Bornou contains cities of from ten to thirty thousand 
inhabitants, chiefly along the shores of the lake, besides 
numerous walled towns. The markets present a most 
busy and crowded scene ; the principal one at Angornou 
is said to attract no less than a hundred thousand visit- 
ers. Yet there is, perhaps, no instance of a people 
so considerable, and with a population so dense, who 
have remained so entirely strangers to all the refined 
arts, and to every form of intellectual existence. In 
culinary science, also, their progress has been unac- 
countably slow. In this fine climate there is not a 
vegetable raised except the onion ; nor a fruit, except 
a few limes in the garden of the Sheik. They have 



neither bread, the most solid and valuable basis of hu- 
man food, nor salt, regarded everywhere else as an 
indispensable condiment. Instead of wheat or rice, 
they raise gussub, a species of small grain, or rather 
seed, which, being boiled to a paste, and melted fat 
poured over it, forms the most perfect production of 
Bornou cookery. The only manufacture, in which 
they have attained to any kind of excellence, is that 
of cotton cloth, dyed blue with their fine indigo. The 
bare necessaries of life, however, exist in abundance. 
The Bornouese are characterized by simplicity, good 
nature, and ugliness. They have in excess the thick 
lips, face sloping backwards, and other features of the 
| negro. Almost their only amusements are wrestling 
and gaming. 

Boo Khaloom had brought with him a large assort- 
ment of goods, for which he did not find a sufficient 
i demand in the market of Bornou. His own anxious 
I wish seems to have been to proceed into Soudan, and 
\ make this a mere peaceable and commercial expedi- 
tion. His followers, however, were dazzled by propo- 
sals held out of expeditions to the south, where they 
might acquire an immense body of slaves, by far the 
most precious booty in their eyes. The Sheik also in- 
cited him to this undertaking, having views of his own 
to serve by it. Boo Khaloom at last felt that he could 
not, on any other terms, return with credit to Fezzan, 
where his rival, the Sultan, would derive a great ad- 
vantage from being able to reproach him with having 
neglected so tempting an opportunity. With this feel- 
ing, he allowed his better judgment to be overpowered, 
and agreed to go on a ghrazzie, or slave-hunt, into the 



mountains of Mandara. The Sheik sent with him a 
large body of cavalry under Barca Gana. Major Den- 
ham accompanied the expedition, for the purpose of 
exploring the countries through which it passed. 

They passed by several large towns, along a route 
which continually ascended, till they came in view of 
a new and grand feature of African geography, the 
kingdom and mountains of Mandara. The former 
consists of a fine valley, in which are situated eight 
large, and a number of smaller towns. This valley, 
and even the Mandara capital, are immediately over- 
hung by the mountains, the recesses of which are ten- 
anted by a numerous and barbarous race, comprehend- 
ed under the general name of Kerdies, or pagans. 
They are hence considered as lawful prey by the 
Arabs, who seize upon them, and carry them into cap- 
tivity. The dwellings of these people were every- 
where seen in clusters on the sides, and even at the 
tops, of the hills which immediately overlook the Man- 
dara capital. The fires, which were visible in the 
different nests of these unfortunate people, threw a 
glare upon the bold peaks and blunt promontories of 
granite rock by which they were surrounded, and pro- 
duced a picturesque and striking appearance. To 
these hapless mountaineers, the view of the Arab tents, 
pitched in the valley beneath, was a most appalling 
spectacle. They knew well what was intended, and 
each sought how to prevent the storm from bursting on 
his own head. Parties were soon seen coming down 
from the mountains with leopard-skins, honey, and 
slaves, as presents, or peace-offerings, to the Sultan. 
As the tidings spread, there appeared a detachment of 



the people of Musgow, a more distant and uncouth 
race. They came mounted on fiery little steeds, cov- 
ered only with the skin of a goat or leopard, and hav- 
ing round their necks long strings of the teeth of their 
enemies. They brought two hundred slaves, and, on 
being admitted to the Sultan of Mandara, threw them- 
selves on the ground, cast sand on their heads, and 
uttered the most piteous cries. 

Boo Khaloom next suffered himself to be persuaded 
by the Sultan to turn his arms against the Felatahs, a 
warlike nation, with whom he was then on ill terms. 
The army took up their march, and, on leaving Mora, 
the Mandara capital, they entered at once, through a 
rugged pass, into the heart of that mass of mountains, 
whose apparently interminable chain spread before 
them in rugged magnificence, with clustering villages 
on their stony sides. In the intervening valleys w r ere 
the first spots seen by Denham in Africa, where Na- 
ture seemed at all to have indulged in giving life to the 
vegetable kingdom. The verdure was bright and lux- 
uriant, and the trunks of the trees were almost hid by 
the profusion of parasitical plants which clung around 
them. On the following day, they came in sight of 
the Felatah town of Dirkullah. The attack was made 
by Boo Khaloom and his Arabs, supported only by 
Barca Gana and about a hundred of his picked chiefs ; 
the remainder hung back, awaiting the alternative of 
flight or pursuit, as the issue might dictate. The Arabs 
captured two successive posts, when they came to a 
third, inclosed between hills, and defended by a strong 
palisade. In half an hour, these defences were car- 
ried, the town was entered, and the Felatahs were 



driven up the sides of the hills. It was thought, that, 
had the cavalry now pushed forward, the success 
would have been complete ; but, as some arrows con- 
tinued to whiz through the air, that prudent body still 
held back. The Felatahs, seeing the small number 
with whom they were contending, now rallied ; rein- 
forcements joined them, and the women, like those of 
the ancient Germans, cheered them on to the combat, 
supplied them continually with fresh arrows, and even 
assisted in rolling down fragments of rock upon the 

The Felatahs now not only stood their ground, but 
began to attack in their turn, and to pour in clouds of 
poisoned arrows, which did fatal execution wherever 
they struck. The condition of the Arabs soon became 
desperate ; the arrows fell thick, piercing both horses 
and riders. Denham saw one man drop, who had five 
sticking in his head alone. At length, the horse of Boo 
Khaloom, and then the chief himself, received mortal 
wounds. As the Arabs began to give way, the Felatah 
horse dashed in upon them, when all the chivalry of 
Bornou and Mandara were seen spurring their steeds 
to the most rapid flight. Denham now saw good cause 
to lament his rashness in joining this ill-fated expedi- 
tion. His horse was wounded by an arrow, and, in 
the midst of a disorderly rout, he galloped off as, fast 
as he was able. His horse stumbled and fell, and, be- 
fore he could get upon his feet, the Felatahs were 
upon him with their spears. He drove them off with 
his pistols, remounted, and continued his flight ; but, 
when he had gone a few rods, his horse again fell, and 
threw him, and then jumped up and ran away, leaving 



his rider on foot, and unarmed. He saw five of his 
companions killed, within a few yards of him, and ex- 

| pected the same fate immediately for himself. 

" Their cries," says he, " were dreadful, and, even 
now, the feelings of that moment are fresh in my 
memory. My hopes of life were too faint to deserve 

I the name. I was almost instantly surrounded, and, 
incapable of making the least resistance, as I was un- 
armed, was as speedily stripped, and whilst attempting 
to save, first my shirt, and then my trousers, I was 
thrown on the ground. My pursuers made several 
thrusts at me with their spears, that badly wounded my 

! hand, in two places, and slightly my body. I saw 
nothing before me but the same cruel death I had seen 
in the few who had fallen into the power of those 
who now had possession of me ; and they were only 
prevented from murdering me, in the first instance, 
I am persuaded, by the fear of injuring the value of 
my clothes, which appeared to them a rich booty. 

| My shirt was now absolutely torn off my back, and I 

; was left perfectly naked. When my plunderers began 
to quarrel for the spoil, the idea of escape came like 
lightning across my mind, and, without a moment's 
hesitation or reflection, I crept under the belly of the 
horse nearest to me, and started, as fast as my legs 
could carry me, for the thickest part of the wood. 
Two of the Fellatahs followed, and I ran on to the 
eastward, knowing that our stragglers would be in that 
direction, but still almost as much afraid of friends as 
foes. My pursuers gained on me, for the prickly un- 
derwood not only obstructed my passage, but tore my 
flesh miserably, and the delight with which I saw a 



mountain stream gliding along at the bottom of a deep 
ravine cannot be imagined. My strength had almost 
left me, and I seized the young branches issuing from 
the stump of a large tree, which overhung the ravine, 
for the purpose of letting myself down into the water, 
when, under my hand, as the branch yielded to the 
weight of my body, a large lifFa, the worst kind of 
serpent this country produces, rose from its coil, as if 
in the very act of striking. I was horror-struck, and 
deprived, for a moment, of all recollection. The branch 
slipped from my hand, and I tumbled headlong into 
the water beneath. This shock, however, revived me, 
and, with three strokes of my arms, I reached the op- 
posite bank, which, with difficulty, I crawled up, and 
then, for the first time, felt myself safe from my pur- 

" I now saw horsemen through the trees, still far- 
ther to the east, and determined on reaching them, if 
possible, whether friends or enemies ; and the feelings 
of gratitude and joy with which I recognized Barca 
Gana and Boo Khaloom, with about six Arabs, although 
they also were pressed closely by a party of the Fella- 
tahs, were beyond description. The guns and pistols 
of the Arab sheiks kept the Fellatahs in check, and 
assisted, in some measure, the retreat of the footmen. 
I hailed them with all my might, but the noise and 
confusion which prevailed, from the cries of those who 
were falling under the Fellatah spears, the cheers of 
the Arabs rallying, and their enemies pursuing, would 
have drowned all attempts to make myself heard, had 
not Maramy, the Sheik's negro, seen and known me at 
a distance. To this man I was indebted for my second 


escape. Riding up to me, he assisted me to mount 
behind him, while the arrows whistled over our heads, 
and we then galloped off to the rear as fast as his 
wounded horse could carry us. After we had gone a 
mile or two, and the pursuit had something cooled, in 
consequence of all the baggage having been abandoned 
to the enemy, Boo Khaloom rode up to me, and desired 
one of the Arabs to cover me with a bornouse. This was 
a most welcome relief, for the burning sun had already 
begun to blister my neck and back, and gave me the 
greatest pain. Shortly after, the effects of the poison- 

j ed wound in his foot caused our excellent friend to 
breathe his last. Maramy exclaimed, 4 Look, look ! 
Boo Khaloom is dead ! 1 I turned my head, almost as 
great an exertion as I was capable of, and saw him 
drop from the horse into the arms of his favorite Arab. 
He never spoke after." 

Nothing daunted by all his misfortunes, Denham, as 
soon as his strength was recruited, joined an expedition 
which the Sheik sent against the Mungars, a numerous 
tribe in the west, who had broken out into rebellion. 
The march presented striking objects. The banks of 
the Yeou, which had lately been the main theatre of the 
power and populousness of Bornou, exhibited a dread- 
ful picture of the ravages of African warfare. After 
passing over the sites of thirty large towns, which the 
Fellatahs had razed to the ground, carrying all the in- 
habitants into slavery, they found Old Birnie, the for- 

I mer capital, in the same condition. It had covered a 
space of five or six square miles, and Denham was 
informed that it had contained 200,000 inhabitants. It 
was now entirely desolate, as well as Gambarou, a 



favorite residence of the former sultan, and whose ruin- 
ed edifices displayed a degree of elegance not observa- 
ble in any of the present royal residences. The banks 
of the river round these capitals, which had formerly 
been in a state of the highest cultivation, were now 
covered with labyrinths of thickets and brambles, and 
the meadows were overgrown with wild plants. The 
inhabitants of the village employ a singular mode of 
fortification. They dig a number of holes in the earth, 
so broad and deep as to be sufficient to swallow up 
both a Tuarick and the camel on which he rides, re- 
ceiving them at the bottom on a number of sharp-point- 
ed stakes. The top is so artfully covered with sods 
and grass, that the most watchful eye can hardly dis- 
cover it. Denham was petrified with horror to find he 
had been within a step or two of one of these man- 
traps. His servant actually fell into one, but saved 
himself by a miraculous spring and the loss of his mule. 

The main body of the Sheik's army was formed of 
the Kanemboo spearmen, to the number of nine thou- 
sand, whose manoeuvres were viewed by the Major 
with much admiration. They fight almost naked, with 
only a skin round the middle. They keep off the ar- 
rows of the enemy with a long shield, and, slowly 
pressing forward in a mass, charge them with their 
spears. They keep a regular chain of pickets in front, 
and, every half hour, the sentinels pass the watch-cry 
along the line. The shrill war-cry, and the clashing 
of their spears against their shields, exceeded any mar- 
tial sound that the travellers had ever heard. The 
rebels at length submitted, and the travellers went to 
visit a river called the Shary, which flows from the 



south into the Tchad. They were surprised at the 
magnitude of the stream, which they found nearly half 
a mile broad. They traced it upwards of forty miles, 
and saw it flowing in great beauty and majesty past 
the high walls of the capital of Loggun. This king- 
dom, now seen and heard of for the first time by Eu- 
ropeans, presented some features superior to any yet 
seen in Africa. 

Amid the furious warfare of the surrounding states, 
the Loggunese have steadily cultivated peace, which, 
by a skilful neutrality, they have been able to maintain. 
They are industrious, and work steadily at the loom, 
which is considered here as an occupation not degrad- 
ing to freemen. The cloth, after being thrice steeped 
in a dye composed of their incomparable indigo, is laid 
on the trunk of a large tree, and beaten with wooden 
mallets till it acquires a most brilliant gloss. They 
have a metallic currency, like the Spartan, of iron ; 
but none of their neighbours have any thing of the 
kind. They are described as a remarkably handsome 
and healthy race, the females in particular, far more 
intelligent, and possessing a good breeding and man- 
ners superior to those of any neighbouring nation. 

We shall close this chapter with a few general re- 
marks respecting the kingdom of Bornou. The com- 
mon residence of the sheik, or sultan, is at Birnie, 
which contains 30,000 inhabitants. Engornou is said 
to contain 50,000. The currency of the country con- 
sists, for the most part, of amber, coral, and glass 
beads, but dollars are well known, and most esteemed. 
In the season of heat and drought, every mark of ver- 
dure disappears, so that it is not easy to imagine how so 



numerous a population is supported ; yet herds of ele- 
phants, giraffes, buffaloes, and antelopes of various 
kinds, are everywhere seen, and especially along the 
borders of the lake. Denham counted forty-seven 
elephants in one group. Tame bullocks are met with 
in droves of 1,000 or 1,500, and meat is very cheap. 

We must not expect to find literature among these 
people, but there appears to be something like a wild 
poetry. The following martial song was sung in cho- 
rus by a troop of cavalry. 

" Give flesh to the hyenas at daybreak. 

O, the broad spears ! 
The spear of the sultan is the broadest. 

O, the broad spears ! 
I behold them now, — I desire to see none other. 

O, the broad spears ! 
My horse is as tall as a high wall. 

O, the broad spears ! 
He will fight against ten ; he fears nothing. 

O, the broad spears ! 
He has slain ten ; the guns are yet behind. 

O, the broad spears ! 
The elephant of the forest brings me what I want. 

O, the broad spears ! 
Like unto them, so is the sultan. 

O, the broad spears ! , 
Be brave, be brave, my friends and kinsmen I 

O, the broad spears ! 
God is great ! I was as fierce as a beast of prey ! 

O, the broad spears ! 
God is great ! To-day, those I wished for are come." 

The talent of poetry, however, resides chiefly among 
the Arab camel-drivers, and owes its origin, probably, 
to that excited state of passion and feeling which is cre- 
ated by a life of wild and wandering adventure. The 



funeral dirge on Boo Khaloom affords a very favorable 
specimen of their powers, and has been much ad- 
mired for its antique dignity and pathos. We shall 
copy it entire. 

" O, trust not to the gun and the sword ! The 
spear of the unbeliever prevails ! 

" Boo Khaloom, the good and the brave, has fallen ! 
Who shall now be safe ? Even as the moon among 
the little stars, so was Boo Khaloom among men ! 
Where shall Fezzan now look for her protector ? Men 
hang their heads in sorrow, while women wring their 
hands, rending the air with their cries ! As a shepherd 
was to his flock, so was Boo Khaloom to Fezzan ! 

" Give him songs ! Give him music ! What words 
can equal his praise ? His heart was as large as the 
desert ! His coffers were like the rich overflowings 
of the udder of the she-camel, comforting and nour- 
ishing those around him ! 

" Even as the flowers, without rain, perish in the 
field, so will the Fezzaneers droop ; for Boo Khaloom 
returns no more ! 

u His body lies in the land of the heathen ! The 
poisoned arrow of the unbeliever prevails ! 

" O, trust not to the gun and the sword ! The 
spear of the heathen conquers ! Boo Khaloom, the 
good and the brave, has fallen ! Who shall now be 
safe ? " 


During the expedition recorded in the preceding 
chapter, Captain Clapperton made an excursion to Sac- 
catoo, the capital of Sultan Bello, the powerful ruler 
of the Fellatahs. While at this place, the Sultan 
made a proposal, that a commercial intercourse should 
be opened with the British through the ports of Ra- 
kah and Fundah, which were said to exist on the 
Atlantic, at the point where the Niger flowed into it. 
On this condition, the Sultan undertook to cooperate 
in preventing the exportation of slaves from any part 
of that extensive territory known by the name of 


Houssa, promising also to have messengers on the coast 
to meet the British traders. In consequence of these 
overtures, Clapperton, with two companions, Captain 
Pearce of the royal navy, and Dr. Morrison, a surgeon, 
was sent out by the British government, on a fresh 
expedition, in 1825. They arrived at Whidah, in the 
Gulf of Benin, in November, and inquired anxiously 
for Rakah and Fundah, but in vain. No such places 
were known on that coast, though they were after- 
wards found several hundred miles in the interior. 
Equally vain was every inquiry after the promised 
messengers of Bello, or any port or place subject to 
his dominion. All this was not very encouraging, but 
they did not suffer it to damp their ardor ; and, by 
the advice of a merchant, long resident upon the coast, 
they fixed upon Badagry as the point by which they 
might most directly and commodiously penetrate into 
the interior of the continent. 

Early in December, they began their journey from 
Badagry, accompanied by their servant and a Hous- 
sa black, who had formerly been interpreter to Bel- 
zoni, the traveller. Clapperton was attended by his 
servant, Richard Lander. Their expedition had a dis- 
astrous commencement. The three leaders were so 
imprudent as to sleep in the open air, for two suc- 
cessive nights, on the swampy and unwholesome coast ; 
and the immediate consequence was, that they were 
all attacked by fever, to which Pearce and Morrison 
fell victims in a fortnight. Clapperton was carried 
through by the strength of his constitution, but he was 
thus left without any social aid or comfort, and with 
the attendance of only one English servant, to pursue 


his adventurous route into the unknown interior of 
Africa. Sixty miles inland from Badagry he reached 
the frontier of Yourriba, a populous and powerful 
kingdom, the capital of which, Eyeo, is stated to be 
fifteen miles in circumference. On the way to it, 
Clapperton passed towns of four, ten, and twenty thou- 
sand inhabitants. The monarch is completely despotic, 
and his chief pomp consists in the number of his wives, 
of whom he boasted, that, linked hand in hand, they 
would reach nearly across the kingdom. The African 
ladies appear to have made little impression on the 
heart of the sturdy Englishman, who speaks on this 
occasion as if he believed their loquacity to be the 
chief evil in the social system. " Government," says 
he, " may restrain the vicious principles of our nature, 
but it is beyond the power even of African despotism 
to silence a woman's tongue." It seems, from this re- 
mark, that the Captain was no great admirer of the 
sex, and yet he was destined to meet with some rare 
adventures with the " fair blacks." 

In every town through which they passed, the trav- 
ellers were welcomed almost as superior beings. The 
report had gone before them, that they were u come to 
do good, and to make peace where there was war ; 
and that all wars and bad palavers were now to Gease." 
The country, which had been dreadfully ravaged by 
an irruption of the Fellatahs and the insurgent slaves 
in Houssa, stood much in need of such deliverers. The 
same feelings prevailed at the court of Yourriba. As 
they approached the capital, they were met by a nu- 
merous body of horsemen, who welcomed them with 
songs, drums, dances, and every species of African 


pomp. The king, during their whole stay, showed the 
same friendly disposition, holding familiar intercourse 
with them, and giving directions that every want should 
be supplied. He sent them forward with an escort 
through the kingdom of Borgoo, the government of 
which is as despotic in principle as that of Eyeo, but not 
so well organized, the different cities attacking and 
plundering each other without any control from the 
general government. The people of Borgoo were re- 
ported as the greatest thieves and robbers in Africa, in- 
stead of which they were found to be cheerful, good- 
humored, and more honest than those who gave them 
so bad a character. Their chief fault seemed to con- 
sist in devoting their lives to pleasures not of the most 
refined description. Wawa, a town of 18,000 inhabit- 
ants, exhibited a continual scene of feasting and jollity, 
with harder drinking than had been witnessed in 
almost any other place. Clapperton here received pe- 
culiar attentions from the ladies of the u first circles " 
in the place. Several times a day, the governor's 
daughter visited him, bedizened in all her African 
finery, and making the most tender manifestations of 
attachment ; but these being met only by cold apol- 
ogies, she always departed in a flood of tears. 

But the most important of these transactions was with 
the widow Zuma, from whom he received the most un- 
disguised advances. She was the second person in the 
city for wealth and importance, and the owner of no 
less than a thousand slaves. Having indulged liberally 
in all the luxuries placed within her reach, she had 
arrived at the most enormous dimensions, which the gal- 
lant Captain compares to those of a " huge hogshead." 


Yet, retaining still some share of beauty, and being of 
Arab extraction, and of a deep brown complexion, 
she accounted herself white, and was anxious to wed 
a white husband. Her eyes were first cast upon Lan- 
der, who, Clapperton informs us, was the handsomer 
fellow of the two. But Lander rejected this most ad- 
vantageous match, and she then directed her artillery 
against the Captain himself, to whose heart she laid 
close siege. Having induced him to visit her, she re- 
ceived him cross-legged, on a piece of Turkey carpet, 
profusely ornamented with gold chains and necklaces 
of coral, and surrounded by numerous slaves. She 
caused a display to be made of all her finery, consist- 
ing of various dressing-cases, chains, and bracelets, 
and he was led through apartments literally hung with 
pewter dishes and bright brass pans. Conceiving her- 
self now irresistible, she at once proposed to have the 
holy man sent for to perform the marriage ceremony. 
Poor Clapperton was completely stunned by this intelli- 
gence. " I thought," said he, " that this was carrying 
the joke a little too far, and began to look very se- 
rious ; on which she sent for the looking-glass, and, 
looking at herself, then offering it to me, said, to be 
sure, she was rather older than me, but very little, and 
what of that ? — This was too much." 

In short, the Captain does not scruple to inform us, 
that he escaped from the house, and then ran as fast 
as he could from the city ! But what will not the 
woman do that loves ? On reaching Comie, news ar- 
rived that the widow was following him with a numer- 
ous train, drums beating, and colors flying ; that she 
had arrested his baggage at Wawa, and that Pascoe, 


his African servant, having, under his sanction, ac- 
cepted a wife from her, she had thus, by African usage, 
established a claim to him. It was added, that she had 
raised pretensions to the sovereignty, which, if sup- 
ported by his prowess, might render him not only the 
husband of the fair Zuma, but king of Wawa. Clap- 
perton's reflection on this hint must not be omitted. 
44 This would have been a fine end of my journey, in- 
deed, if I had deposed old Mohammed, and set up for 
myself, with a walking tun-butt for a queen ! " Re- 
nouncing all these brilliant visions, however, he has- 
tened to Wawa to rescue his baggage. He reached 
the place before the widow, but seems to have been 
very unwelcome to the governor, who had hoped that 
he and the lady had gone together to Houssa, and 
that he himself should be freed from his powerful 
rival. He now stated it to be impossible that Clapper- 
ton should depart till the return of the widow, and 
the Captain was forcibly detained, vainly protesting 
that his movements had nothing to do with hers. 

The next day the sound of drums was heard, and 
Zuma made her entry in full pomp, mounted on a 
horse, whose head was ornamented with brass plates, 
and harness sewed in various colored leather, red, 
green, and yellow ; he had a scarlet breast-piece, with 
a brass plate in the centre, and a scarlet saddle-cloth, 
trimmed with gold lace. She was dressed in red silk 
trousers, and red morocco boots ; on her head was a 
white turban, and over her shoulders a mantle of silk 
and gold. The Captain seems to have been somewhat 
dazzled with this display, and owns that had she been 
a little younger, and not so large, he might have been 


tempted to share an African throne with her. However, 
every feeling of this nature was repressed. He direct- 
ed his man, Pascoe, to return his African wife, that no 
farther claim might be founded upon her ; the widow 
resigned herself to her fate, and Clapperton escaped 
with an unbroken heart from this most singular love- 

The next great town which they arrived at was 
Boussa, situated on the Niger, and ranking as the cap- 
ital of the kingdom of Borgoo. This place excited 
the deepest interest, as the fatal spot which terminated 
the adventurous career of Park. On this subject anx- 
ious inquiries were made, and the country was found full 
of his story and fate. Every relation confirmed, more 
and more, the account given by Amadi Fatouma. All 
the people of Boussa spoke on the subject with reluc- 
tance and deep distress, and each one sought, by al- 
leging his own absence or youth, to clear himself from 
any personal share in the guilt of his murder. Accord- 
ing to one report, the event had taken place at the com- 
mencement of a war with the Fellatahs, who, in Cen- 
tral Africa, are accounted white men ; and the report 
arriving, that a boat with white men was coming down 
the river, they were mistaken for the advanced guard 
of the Fellatahs, and consequently treated as enemies. 

The caravan route to Houssa led along the borders 
of the kingdom of Nyffee. Throughout Houssa, this 
country had been always mentioned as the centre of 
African civilization, and the seat of its finest arts and 
manufactures. But it was now suffering under a dire 
reverse. In a disputed succession, one of the claimants 
of the throne had called in the aid of the Fellatahs, 


whose victorious career had been marked by those 
dreadful ravages which invariably deform African war- 
fare, and NyfFee, the boast of Africa, presented now 
a scene of the most gloomy desolation. Clapperton 
visited the camp of the prince who was the author 
of this calamity. The country, on his route, ex- 
hibited a dreadful prospect : rich plantations choked 
with weeds ; a few starving horses and cattle tied to 
trees ; villages converted into heaps of rubbish, and 
appearing only more desolate from being surrounded 
by some brilliant remains of verdure and cultivation. 
The camp, according to the African system, was com- 
posed of a number of huts, resembling bee-hives, ar- 
ranged in regular streets, and, but for the armed men, 
horses feeding, and drums beating, could scarcely 
have been distinguished from a large village. It was 
" filled with weavers, tailors, women spinning cotton, 
others reeling off, others selling yams, paste, &c, little 
markets at every green tree, holy men counting their 
beads, and dissolute slaves drinking." 

The caravan then passed through the cities of Tobra, 
Koolfu, and Kufu, which, being large and walled, 
had been able to protect themselves, and presented an 
image of what NyfTee had been in the days of her 
prosperity. They all exhibited a busy scene of com- 
merce and industry. Zaria, the capital of Zeg-zeg, 
was the finest city they had yet seen. It is approached 
through noble avenues of poplar-trees, and is sur- 
rounded by a country almost entirely cleared of tim- 
ber, under high cultivation, and often resembling the 
finest parts of England. At length they arrived at 
Kano, where Clapperton found himself in the centre 


of his former route. He left his servant here with a 
part of his baggage, and departed for Saccatoo. The 
country on his route was covered with numerous bodies 
of troops, hastening to attack the rebel capital of Goo- 
bur. These presented a very picturesque appearance, 
as they passed along the chain of little lakes formed 
by the River of Zirmie. " The borders of these lakes," 
says Clapperton, u are the resort of numbers of ele- 
phants and other wild beasts. The appearance, at 
this season, and at the spot where I saw it, was very 
beautiful. All the acacia-trees were in blossom ; some 
with white flowers, others with yellow, forming a con- 
trast with the small dusky leaves, like gold and silver 
tassels on a cloak of dark green velvet. Some of the 
troops were bathing, others watering their horses, bul- 
locks, camels, and asses ; the lake as smooth as glass, 
and flowing around the roots of the trees. The sun, 
on its approach to the horizon, throws the shadows of 
the flowery acacias along hs surface, like sheets of 
burnished gold and silver. The smoking fires on 
its banks, the sounding of horns, the beating of their 
gongs or drums, the braying of their brass and tin 
trumpets, the rude huts, of grass or branches of trees, 
rising, as if by magic, everywhere ; the calls on the 
names of Mahomet, Abdo, Mustafa, &c, with the 
neighing of horses and the braying of asses, gave ani- 
mation to the beautiful scenery of the lake, and its 
sloping green and woody banks.'" 

He arrived in safety at Saccatoo, but found the feel- 
ings of the Sultan and his people toward him essen- 
tially altered. Fears of British encroachment had 
arisen there, and a letter was at this time received 


from Bornou, stating that the British, who had entered 
India as friends, had finally made themselves masters 
of the whole of that fine region. As there was no 
denying this fact, Clapperton found it impossible to re- 
instate himself in the good graces of the Sultan. It 
became a common talk in the city, that the English 
were coming to invade Houssa, and it was recommend- 
ed to put their messengers to death. This scheme was 
anticipated by the sudden decease of Captain Clapper- 
ton, who, having again committed the imprudence of 
sleeping in the open air, on his journey to Saccatoo, 
was attacked by sickness, and died in a few days. 
Lander, who had previously joined him, attended him 
in his last moments, and brought his papers safely to 
England. On his return, he attempted to trace the 
Niger to its termination, but was prevented by the 
war then existing between the Fellatahs and the peo- 
ple of Fundah. 

Lander, after his return to England, tendered his 
Services to the government for a fresh expedition. The 
offer was accepted, and he set out again for Africa, 
accompanied by his brother John. The main object 
was to ascertain the outlet of the Niger. They took 
very nearly the same route which had been travelled by 
Clapperton. They found the river completely naviga- 
ble from Boussa to a fruitful and finely wooded island, 
called Patashie ; after which, for twenty miles, it is 
obstructed by rocks and sand-banks. All the rest of 
the way to the ocean, the Niger, or Quorra, as it is 
called by the natives, is a broad and noble stream, 
varying from one to six, but most commonly between 
two and three, miles in breadth. The banks, in some 


places, were flat and marshy, but elsewhere presented 
the most pleasing aspect, being described as " embel- 
lished with mighty trees and elegant shrubs, which 
were clad in thick and luxuriant foliage, some of lively 
green, others of darker hues, and little birds were 
singing merrily among the branches. Magnificent fes- 
toons of creeping plants, always green, hung from the 
tops of the tallest trees, and drooping to the water's 

Further down, the river is bordered by lofty moun- 
tains, of a gloomy and romantic appearance, fringed 
with stunted shrubs, which overhang immense preci- 
pices, their recesses tenanted only by wild beasts and 
birds of prey. At the small island of Belee, there ap- 
peared a neatly ornamented canoe, with the sound of 
music, bringing the " King of the Dark Water," who 
accompanied them down to his island domain. This 
was Zagoshie, one of the most remarkable spots in all 
Africa ; it is about fifteen miles long and three broad, 
in the midst of the Niger. The surface, scarcely rais- 
ed above the level of the waters, consists of mud, fre- 
quently overflowed, and so soft, that, even in the floors 
of the huts, a slender cane could be thrust almost to 
any depth. Yet the island is, throughout, well culti- 
vated, and highly productive, and its manufactures dis- 
play, in a preeminent degree, the general superiority 
of those of Nyflee. The productions of its looms are 
valued, by neighbouring princes and chiefs, beyond all 
others in Africa. Wooden vessels, mats, shoes, horse- 
accoutrements, and implements of agriculture, are also 
made in great variety. Navigation is practised upon a 
large scale, and the king has a navy of six hundred 


Further down is Egga, a large town close to the 
river, in a situation so low that a great part of it is 
inundated during the wet season. The inhabitants 
drive a brisk trade up and down the river, and some, 
like the Chinese, have no dwellings but large roofed 
canoes on the water. Egga is the boundary town of 
Nyffee, and closes, on the south, that range of flourish- 
ing, and, comparatively, well governed kingdoms, which 
here extend along both banks of the Quorra. The 
Landers were here assured, that, if they attempted to 
descend the river to the sea, they would find its shores 
bordered by states of an entirely different character, 
each town being governed by its own chief, with little 
or no dependence on any other ; the people accustom- 
ed to no pacific and orderly habits, but fierce and law- 
less. Undismayed by these representations, the travel- 
lers continued their route. They saw two or three 
large cities, but, following the advice of their friends, 
they avoided landing, or holding any communication 
with the people. At length, they came to a clear spot, 
where they landed to repose from their fatigues. Some 
of them, straggling off in search of firewood, came upon 
a village, where they found only a few women, who 
showed symptoms of terror at the sight of the strangers, 
and ran to give the alarm. No serious anxiety was felt 
till one of the party exclaimed, " War is coming ! O, 
war is coming ! " and they soon saw a fierce and nu- 
merous band, variously armed, advancing against them 
with every symptom of furious hostility. 

The Landers, independent of their aversion to blood- 
shed, saw that the assailants were too numerous to be 
successfully combated. Throwing down their pistols, 


therefore, they walked composedly toward the leader of 
the party. His movements, for some time, seemed most 
alarming ; but, just as he had drawn his bow, and was 
about to pull the fatal string, another person rushed for- 
ward and stayed his arm. " At that instant," says the 
narrative, " we stood before him, and immediately held 
forth our hands. All of them trembled like aspen- 
leaves ; the chief looked up full in our faces, kneeling 
on the ground ; light seemed to flash from his dark- 
rolling eyes ; his body was convulsed all over, as though 
he were enduring the utmost torture ; and with a timor- 
ous, yet undefinable, expression of countenance, in 
which all the passions of our nature were strangely 
blended, he drooped his head, eagerly grasped our 
proffered hands, and burst into tears. This was a sign 
of friendship ; harmony followed, and war and blood- 
shed were thought of no more. An interpreter being 
afterwards found, the chief stated, that, on the first 
tidings that a strange people, speaking an unknown 
language, had occupied the market-place, he had con- 
ceived them to be enemies, watching for an opportu- 
nity of making a midnight attack upon the village ; 
but when he saw them approach unarmed, his heart 
fainted within him, and he imagined they were chil- 
dren of heaven, dropped down from the skies. ' And 
now,' said he, 1 white men, all I ask is your forgive- 
ness.' " 

A little below Kirree, a large trading town, they were 
attacked by a fleet of fifty canoes, each mounting a 
six-pounder. They were roughly handled, and robbed 
of all their property. Returning to the town, they in- 
terested the inhabitants in their behalf so effectually, 


that the plundered property was ordered to be restored, 
and the piratical commander put to death. Unfortu- 
nately, the journal of Richard Lander was lost, with 
many more of their effects. At Kirree commences the 
Delta of the Niger, and a branch of the river goes off to 
Benin. They were now near the Atlantic, which they 
reached without encountering any considerable imped- 
iment ; thus having solved the greatest problem in 
modern geography, and accomplishing a discovery 
which divested the Niger of that singular and myste- 
rious character which had been one chief cause of the 
interest it had excited, when seen rolling its ample 
flood from the sea, towards vast, unknown regions in 
the interior. Measured through all its various wind- 
ings, this river must be upwards of 3,000 miles in 

The discoveries related in the present and the pre- 
ceding chapter have made us acquainted with a long 
range of African kingdoms scarcely known before to 
the rest of the world, even by name. The inhabitants 
of these territories, turbulent, licentious, and barba- 
rous, still display some daw T nings of civilization, and 
are, perhaps, in a state of society not very unlike that 
of Greece during the heroic ages. They have lands 
under regular culture ; a few fine manufactures ; some 
extemporary poetry, not without sweetness and beauty ; 
cities, or, rather, huge assemblages of mud and straw 
huts, surrounded with walls of earth, yet containing 
swarms of population. Almost entirely destitute of 
letters, and of any regular or enlightened forms of 
polity, they are held together by attachment to old cus- 
toms, and by a blind and superstitious veneration for 


their princes and chiefs. They appear, in short, to 
have remained as exactly as possible in the very state 
described by the Arabic writers of the twelfth century, 
and consequently neither have made, nor seem in the 
way of making, any advance in the scale of civilized 
society. The fertility of the soil, the extensive river 
communications, the intercourse, by caravans, with the 
half-civilized tribes on the northern coast, have led 
them a certain way onward in improvement ; — but, on 
the other hand, the want of maritime intercourse ; the 
interior obstructions which prevent the formation of 
great empires, or render them the scene of perpetual 
insurrection ; the incessant wars, accompanied with 
dreadful devastation, crush, as they arise, all the germs 
of high improvement, and render the efforts, which 
man habitually makes to improve his condition, barely 
sufficient to save him, in these regions, from relapsing 
into utter barbarism. 


Slavery is general throughout Africa ; but the 
slavery of African to African is, comparatively, of a 
very mild character. The slave sits on the same mat 
with his master, and eats out of the same dish ; he 
converses with him, in every respect, as an equal. 
The labor required in this state of society is not such 
as to impose much suffering. Foreign slavery, on the 
contrary, causes infinite misery ; it severs the victim 
from his home, and generally exacts from him the ut- 
most possible amount of labor ; it presents the darkest 
picture of human nature in its most debased and abject 

The first Europeans who engaged in the slave-trade 
were the Portuguese. In 1442, Antonio Gonzalez, 
who had been sent by Prince Henry to explore the 
coast of Africa, carried ten negro slaves to Lisbon. 
His success stimulated the avarice of his countrymen, 
and, in the course of a few years, no less than thirty- 
seven Portuguese ships were engaged in the traffic. 
In 1481, they built a fort on the Gold Coast ; another, 
shortly afterward, at Arguin ; and a third at St. Paul 
de Loanda, on the coast of Angola. The introduction 

< 286 


of slaves into Europe was sanctioned by a bull of Pope 
Eugenius the Fourth. The Spaniards began to deal 
in slaves immediately after the discovery of America ; 
and it is painful to reflect that so great a man as Co- 
lumbus was an early and a strenuous advocate of slav- 
ery. He sent home to Spain, without any authority 
for such a proceeding, five hundred Indian captives, to 
be sold into servitude. This gross violation of the laws 
of humanity was promptly rebuked by Queen Isabella, 
who ordered the Indians to be immediately restored to 
their homes. 

As early as 1502, the Spaniards began to employ a 
few negroes in the mines of St. Domingo ; but, in the 
year following, Ovando, the governor of the island, 
forbade the further importation of them, alleging that 
they taught the Indians all manner of wickedness, and 
rendered them intractable. The unfortunate Indians, 
however, perished with such dreadful rapidity, under 
the labor imposed upon them, that the court of Spain was 
induced, a few years afterward, to revoke the orders 
issued by Ovando, and to sanction, by royal authority, 
the introduction of African slaves from the Portuguese 
settlements on the coast of Guinea. 

In the year 1517, Charles the Fifth granted a patent 
to one of his Flemish courtiers, for the importation of 
4,000 negroes, annually, into the West India Islands. 
This patent having been transferred to some Genoese 
merchants, the supply of negroes to the Spanish Amer- 
ican plantations became, from that time, an established 
and regular branch of commerce. The concurrence 
of the emperor in this measure was obtained at the 
solicitation of Las Casas, Bishop of Chiapa, the cele 



brated " Protector of the Indians." Motives of hu- 
manity never, before nor since, have prompted a man 
to an act which caused such dreadful evil to the hu- 
man race. Wishing to relieve the American Indians 
from their sufferings, this short-sighted philanthropist 
proposed to cast their burdens on the natives of Africa ; 
thus enslaving one race of men, to emancipate another. 

The first Englishman, who is known to have been 
concerned in the slave-trade, was John Hawkins, after- 
wards knighted by Queen Elizabeth, and appointed 
treasurer of the navy. Having made several voyages 
to the Canary Islands, and obtained information that a 
very profitable trade might be carried on by transport- 
ing negroes from Guinea to the West Indies, he opened 
his project to his " worshipful friends in London," who, 
it seems, were persons of rank. These approved of 
the scheme, and Hawkins was furnished with three 
ships for the enterprise, and sailed to Sierra Leone, in 
1562. In a short time after his arrival, he got into his 
possession, partly by the sword, and partly by other 
means, 300 negroes, whom he carried to St. Domingo. 
Returning to London with rich profits, he attracted 
the notice, and excited the avarice, of the British gov- 
ernment. In the following year, he was appointed to 
the command of the Jesus, a queen's ship of 700 tons, 
and sent on a voyage for slaves. How this sacred 
name could be associated with so inhuman and re- 
volting a service by any Christian people appears, at 
the present day, almost unaccountable. 

Six other queen's ships accompanied Hawkins on 
this expedition. The fleet was dispersed by a storm 
in the Bay of Biscay ; one of them caught fire and 



blew up ; another put back ; but the remainder arrived 
safely at Cape Verde. " The people of Cape Verde," 
says the narrator of this voyage, " are called Leo- 
phares, and are counted the goodliest men of all oth- 
ers, saving the Congoes, who inhabit this side the Cape 
de Buena Esperan^a. These Leophares have wars 
against the JalofTs, which are borderers by them. These 
men are also more civil than any other, because of 
their daily trafficke with the Frenchmen, and are of a 
nature very gentle and loving. Here we stayed but 
one night and part of the day ; for the 7th of Decem- 
ber we came away, in that, intending to have taken 
negroes there perforce, the Minion's men gave them 
to understand of our coming and our pretence ; there- 
fore they did avoyde the snares we had lay'd for them." 
It does not appear whether the captain of the Minion 
had a separate command, and was jealous of Hawkins's 
authority, or was shocked at the excesses to which his 
avarice urged him, in laying snares to seize and carry 
off the unoffending natives. 

On the 8th of December, Hawkins anchored at a 
small island called Alcatrasa. At this place, while the 
Jesus and Solomon were riding at anchor, the boats 
went to an island belonging to a people called the 
Sapies, to hunt negroes. The English landed, to the 
number of eighty, well armed ; but the natives flying 
into the woods, they returned without success. At 
another island, called Sambula, " we stayed," says the 
narrator, " certain dayes, going every day on shore to 
take the inhabitants, with burning and spoiling their 
towns. These inhabitants, who w T ere called Samboes, 
held divers of the Sapies, taken in war, as their slaves, 



whom they kept to till the ground, of whom we took 
many in that place, but of the Samboes none at all, 
for they all fled into the maine." 

These narratives are sufficient to show what atro- 
cious acts of piracy and murder were sanctioned by 
the British government in their first intercourse with 
Africa. The next voyage of Hawkins to the coast re- 
sulted disastrously, and for a time put an end to this 
commerce ; but in 1618, James the First granted a 
charter to Sir Robert Rich and some other merchants 
of London, for a joint stock company for trading to 
Guinea. A second company was established, under a 
charter from Charles the First, in 1631, and a third 
was incorporated by Charles the Second in 1662. 
This last comprised many persons of high rank and 
distinction, and the Duke of York, the king's brother, 
was at the head. This company undertook to supply 
the English West India plantations with 3,000 negroes 

Spain, having little or no intercourse with those 
parts of Africa from which slaves were obtained, was 
under the necessity of contracting with some other 
nation having establishments on the coast where slaves 
were procured. Such treaties were first made with 
Portugal, and afterwards with France, each of which 
countries, in consideration of enjoying a monopoly of 
the supply of negroes for the Spanish American ter- 
ritories, agreed to pay to that crown a certain sum for 
each negro imported. At the peace of Utrecht, in 
1713, this contract, which was called the Asiento, was 
transferred to the English, who continued to furnish 
the Spaniards with slaves till the year 1748. It is 



somewhat remarkable that the first objection to the 
slave-trade was made by South Carolina ; but the 
British government paid no heed to it. In 1774, the 
House of Assembly in Jamaica passed two bills, de- 
signed to restrain the traffic in negroes, which were 
rejected by the home government, not only because 
the colony was arrogating to itself a right to interfere 
with the commerce of the mother country, but on the 
broad ground, as expressed by the minister, Lord Dart- 
mouth, that " he never would allow the colonies to 
check or discourage in any degree a traffic so bene- 
ficial to the nation." Under the administration of Mr. 
Pitt, and by his express permission, no less than 57,000 
slaves were annually imported from Africa into the 
British West* India Islands. In addition to the im- 
portations to America, great numbers were sent from 
Mozambique, and all the ports of the eastern coast, to 
Persia, and different parts of the East Indies, so that 
Africa was supposed to be drained annually of no less 
than 200,000 of its inhabitants. 

Nothing in the history of human suffering can sur- 
pass the horrors of what is called the " Middle Pas- 
sage," or the transportation of the slaves across the At- 
lantic. The miserable beings are crowded like cattle 
into the hold of the ship, in such numbers that a large 
portion of them necessarily die of disorders contracted 
by a want of ventilation, and the heat of a tropical cli- 
mate. One Portuguese vessel is known to have sailed 
from Africa to Brazil with 1,100 slaves, 500 of whom 
died on the voyage, and the greater part of the re- 
mainder did not long survive their arrival in port. 
As an example of the horrors which attended these 



voyages, we will give the history of one performed as 
late as the year 1819. The French ship Rodeur, of 
200 tons' burden, sailed from Havre for Calabar, and 
took on board a cargo of 160 negroes, with which she 
set sail for Guadaloupe. As she approached the equi- 
noctial line, a frightful malady broke out. At first, 
the symptoms were slight, little more than a redness 
of the eyes ; and this, being confined to the slaves, 
was ascribed to a want of air in the hold, and the nar- 
row space between the decks, into which so large 
a number of these unhappy beings were crowded. 
It was thought to arise in some measure, also, from 
the scarcity of water, which had thus early begun to 
be felt, and pressed chiefly upon the negroes. 

By the surgeon's advice, therefore, they were suf- 
fered, for the first time, to breathe the purer air upon 
the deck, where they were brought in succession ; but 
many of these poor creatures, being affected with that 
desire of returning to their native country, which is so 
strong as to form a disease, termed nostalgia by the 
physicians, no sooner found they were at liberty, than 
they threw themselves into the sea, locked in each 
other's arms, in the vain hope, known to prevail among 
them, of thus being swiftly transported to their homes. 
•"With the view of counteracting this propensity, the 
captain ordered several, who were stopped in the at- 
tempt, to be shot or hanged in the sight of their com- 
panions ; but this terrible example was not sufficient to 
deter them, and it became necessary once more to 
confine them entirely to the hold. 

The disorder proved to be a virulent ophthalmia, and 
it spread with irresistible rapidity among the negroes, 



all of whom were seized with it. The crew were 
next attacked ; the resources of medicine were una- 
vailing ; the sufferings of the people and the number 
of the blind daily increased ; and they were in constant 
expectation that the negroes, taking advantage of their 
numbers, would rise and destroy them. From this 
danger they were saved only by the mutual hatred of 
the tribes into which these unfortunate Africans were 
divided, and which was so fierce and inextinguishable, 
that, even under the load of chains and sickness, they 
were ready every instant, in their fury, to tear one 
another in pieces. But a fresh alarm now seized the 
Frenchmen ; only one of their number had escaped 
the disease, and if he too should be stricken blind, they 
could no longer hope ever to reach the shore. Such 
was the actual condition of a Spanish ship which they 
met on the voyage ; every one of her crew had lost 
his sight, and, having thus been obliged to abandon 
all direction of their course, they pitifully entreated 
help of the French, who could neither spare any one 
to their assistance, nor make room for them on board 
their own vessel. The ship never was heard of after- 

The consternation on board the Rodeur now became 
general. Thirty-six of the negroes, having become 
totally blind, were thrown into the sea and drowned, in 
order to save the expense of supporting slaves ren- 
dered unsalable, and to obtain grounds for a claim 
against the underwriters. At length, they reached 
Guadaloupe in the most wretched condition. The 
only man who had escaped the disease, and had thus 
been enabled to steer the vessel into a port, caught it 



three days after their arrival. Thirty-nine of the ne- 
groes had become perfectly blind, and many others had 
lost at least one eye. Of the crew, twelve, including 
the surgeon, wholly lost their sight, and the captain and 
four others became blind of one eye. Yet, so strong 
is the thirst of gold, that, in the following year, the 
vessel was again commissioned, and the same com- 
mander sailed in her to ravage the hamlets of Africa, 
unappalled by the horrors through which he had passed. 

In March, 1820, an English ship of war, on the coast 
of Africa, boarded, after a long chase, a French vessel 
belonging to Martinique. The captain admitted that 
he had been engaged in the slave-trade, but denied that 
he had any slaves on board, declaring that he had been 
plundered of his cargo. The English officers, how- 
ever, observed that all the French seamen appeared 
agitated and alarmed, and this led to an examination 
of the hold. Nothing was found, and they would have 
dismissed the Frenchman with the belief that the cap- 
tain's story was true, had not a sailor happened to strike 
a cask, and hear, or fancy he heard, a faint voice with- 
in. The cask was opened, and two negro girls were 
found there in the last stage of suffocation. An inves- 
tigation now took place, and it was ascertained that 
they belonged to a cargo of fourteen slaves, whom the 
French captain had carried off in an attack which he 
and his crew had made on the property of an Ameri- 
can, after his decease. This led to a new search of 
the slave-ship for the other twelve, whom he was thus 
proved to have obtained by robbery, when a platform 
was discovered, on which the negroes must have been 
laid in a space twenty-three inches in height, and be- 



neath it a negro was found — not, however, one of the 
twelve — jammed into a crevice between two water- 
casks. Still, there were no traces of these twelve 
slaves, and the captain persisted in his story, that he 
had been plundered by a Spanish pirate. But, sud- 
denly, a most horrible idea darted across the minds of 
the English ; they recollected that when the chase be- 
gan, they had seen several casks floating by them, a 
circumstance for which they could not account ; but 
now little doubt could be entertained that those casks 
contained the wretched slaves, whom the monster had 
thus thrown overboard to prevent the detection that 
would have ensued either upon their being found in his 
ship, or by their bodies floating exposed on the sea. 

The attention of mankind was first effectually awak- 
ened to the horrors of the slave-trade by Thomas 
Clarkson, an Englishman, whose labors, with the aid 
of the zealous men, chiefly Quakers, who early joined 
him, prepared the way for Mr. Wilberforce, who 
brought the subject before the British Parliament in 
1788. The United States, however, was the first pow- 
er that abolished the foreign slave-trade, having passed 
an act of Congress for that purpose on the 2d of 
March, 1807, — as early as the constitution allowed it to 
be done. It was abolished by the British government 
on the 25th of the same month. All the powers of 
Europe, at different periods, have followed the same 
course, and the slave-trade, although carried on to a 
great extent at the present day, is esteemed piracy, 
and punished accordingly. In 1834, the British Parlia- 
ment passed an act by which slavery was abolished in all 
the British colonies, and twenty millions sterling were 



paid to the owners of the slaves as an indemnity. No 
other nation has yet imitated this example, although the 
new republics of Spanish America, generally speaking, 
emancipated their slaves at the time of the revolution. 

It is calculated, on good evidence, that not less than 
150,000 negro slaves are annually imported from Af- 
rica into the Spanish West India Islands and Brazil, in 
direct contravention of the laws and the treaties exist- 
ing between Great Britain and Spain and Portugal ; 
the local authorities either winking at the practice, or 
being unable to prevent it. But another appalling fact 
is, that, since the slave-trade has been declared illegal, 
the sufferings of the slaves, in their passage across the 
Atlantic, have been increased, owing to the necessity of 
concealing the cargoes by cooping up the negroes in a 
small compass, and avoiding the cruisers stationed on 
the coast to prevent the traffic. They are often, as we 
have seen, thrown overboard during the chase. The 
loss in the middle passage is reckoned at a fourth of 
the whole number, and there is a further loss, after 
landing, in what is called the " seasoning " of the 
slaves. The mortality of slaves in Brazil is described, 
by all who know that country, as truly frightful. 

An establishment for restoring liberated slaves to 
their own country has been formed, by a voluntary as- 
sociation of Americans, on the western coast of Africa, 
between Sierra Leone and Cape Coast Castle. This 
colony, which has received the name of Liberia, was 
founded in 1821, and now comprises a territory ex- 
tending three hundred miles along the coast. The 
principal town is Monrovia. Many of the inhabitants 
of the settlements belong to the neighbouring tribes, 



and others are prize slaves, liberated by the govern- 
ment of the United States, and sent to Liberia in order 
to be provided for, when they cannot be immediately 
restored to their particular homes. For this purpose, 
grants of money have been annually made by Con- 
gress, and the legislatures of many of the States have 
followed their example. The American ships of war 
are ordered occasionally to visit Liberia, although the 
country is not claimed as a colony by the United States. 


This powerful and warlike African nation attracted 
little notice in Europe till the present century, al- 
though two or three centuries ago it was a power- 
ful monarchy, which, in conjunction with its allies, 
could bring into the field an army of 60,000 men. 
The present kingdom of Ashantee is upon the sea- 
coast, in the Gulf of Benin ; but, formerly, it appears 
to have been confined to a small inland district. 
The government, for political purposes, endeavours 
to obliterate all traditions and historical monuments, 
so that the annals of this country are necessarily very 
imperfect. The first war by which the Ashantees are 
believed to have secured any considerable increase of 
dominion was that which resulted in the conquest of 
the neighbouring kingdom of Dinkira, about the begin- 
ning of the last century. An outrage, offered by Bo- 
siante, the king of Dinkira, to one of the wives of Zay, 
the king of Ashantee, produced hostilities. Bosiante, 
in the mean time, died, but this produced no change in 
the resolution of the king of Ashantee, who invaded 
Dinkira with a large army. Two battles were fought, 
in which it is stated that a hundred thousand men were 



killed. The Ashantees were victorious, and spent fif- 
teen days in plundering the country. The body of 
King Bosiante was disinterred, the flesh was given to 
be devoured by serpents, and the skull and thigh-bones 
were preserved as trophies. These relics still remain 
at the court of the king of Ashantee, and are exhibited 
on certain holidays to gratify the vindictive spirit of the 

Zay, or Say Tootoo, was the founder of Coomassie. 
the present capital of the kingdom. The conquest of 
Dinkira gave so great an accession of power and terri- 
tory to Ashantee, and so completely altered its rela- 
tions to the surrounding powers, that this monarch, upon 
whom has been bestowed the epithet of " the Great," 
may be considered almost as the founder of the pres- 
ent empire. The history of the country before his 
time is acknowledged to be legendary and obscure. 
He is said to have been the first king by whom the 
Mohammedan inhabitants were reduced to the same 
state of subjection with the heathen negroes, and com- 
pelled to serve in his armies. It was in his reign, also, 
that a commercial intercourse with the Dutch settle- 
ments on the coast first introduced the Ashantees to 
an acquaintance with white men. Besides Dinkira, he 
subjugated several other neighbouring states. In short, 
he created an empire, including tributaries, which was 
chiefly of a feudal complexion. It was augmented by 
subsequent monarchs, and, in 1S07, an Ashantee army 
first reached the coast, where the Europeans had estab- 
lished forts and factories. Down to this time, from the 
mention of the Ashantees by Bosnian, the Dutch gov- 
ernor of Elmina, early in the preceding century, they 



appear not to have been visited by any person from 
Europe, and their very name had become almost for- 
gotten. In May, 1807, the king had established him- 
self and his army at Abrab, not more than fifteen or 
twenty miles from the sea. He soon attacked and 
captured the Dutch stations of Cormantine and Fort 
Amsterdam. He next assaulted Annamboa, a town 
where the English had a fort and garrison ; eight thou- 
sand of the inhabitants were killed, and the fort would 
have been captured but for a negotiation, resulting in a 
treaty, by which the British governor acknowledged 
that the sovereignty of the country resided in the king 
of Ashantee. 

This led to several wars, as the king never failed to 
insist on his pretensions to the country when any of 
the native chiefs refused the payment of their tribute, 
and the British, inciting them to revolt, or interfering 
in the difficulties, brought the arms of the Ashantees 
against them. In 1823, on the accession of a new king, 
he issued a regular declaration of war against the Brit- 
ish, accusing them of the infraction of treaties, treach- 
ery, cruelty, &c. In the early part of the contest, the 
Ashantees sustained some reverses. Encouraged by 
success, the British governor, Sir Charles McCarthy, 
advanced into the interior with an army of 2,000 men. 
On the 21st of January, 1824, he was attacked by a 
force of 10.000 Ashantees, near the River Praa, and 
totally defeated. The governor was wounded and tak- 
en prisoner, and all the officers who were with him, 
excepting two, were either killed or made prisoners. 
He was confined for nearly three years. Finally, the 
British concluded a treaty with the Ashantees, by which 



the latter gave up their claims to the territory on the 

The government of Ashantee appears to be a des- 
potism, partially controlled by an aristocracy, and, to 
a greater extent, by the ancient customs of the coun- 
try. But, in whatever degree the royal power may be 
restrained by these opposing forces, it appears to be 
unlimited in regard to the right to dispose, at pleasure, 
of the property, the liberty, and the lives of all classes 
of the population. Besides the negroes, there are many 
Mohammedans, chiefly Moors from the north. These 
people, possessing the art of writing, and other ac- 
quirements not within the reach of the negroes, exer- 
cise, consequently, great influence. The principal 
manufactures of the country are cotton cloth, woven 
on a loom worked by strings held between the toes, in 
webs not above four inches wide. Silk is sometimes 
interwoven with the cotton. These cloths are often of 
a very fine texture, and colored with the highest bril- 
liancy. They also manufacture earthen ware, sword- 
blades, and other instruments of iron. They are expert 
goldsmiths, and, as their country produces that metal, 
articles of gold abound in the houses of all the weal- 
thier inhabitants. The frames of the windows are often 
cased in gold, of the thickness of cartridge-paper. 

Coomassie, the capital, has a population of twelve or 
fifteen thousand. Four of the principal streets are 
half a mile long, and from fifty to one hundred yards 
wide. The streets are all named, and each is under 
the supervision of a captain. The houses are mostly 
built of stakes and wattling filled up with clay. All 
have gable ends and ridged roofs, consisting of a frame- 



work of bamboo, over which is laid a thatch of palm- 
leaves. Many houses have arcades, and are highly 
ornamented with plaster, paint, carving, and other 
decorations. The doors are of an entire piece of 
cotton-wood, cut, with great labor, out of the stems or 
buttresses of the tree. The windows are open wood- 
work, carved in fanciful figures and intricate patterns, 
and painted red. 

The population of Ashantee may be estimated at 
about a million, of which 200,000 are military, or able 
to bear arms. The most remarkable among the moral 
characteristics of the Ashantees are their warlike fe- 
rocity and their love of blood. The most horrid of the 
practices, by which they express their religious feel- 
ings, are those in which they indulge at what are called 
the Yam and Adai customs. On these occasions, hu- 
man blood flows in torrents. The sacrifices are de- 
scribed' as exceeding, in their sanguinary character, 
almost every thing of the sort in the history of human 
superstition. We will add, that the laws of Ashantee 
allow the king 3,333 wives, and it is considered highly 
important that this number should be carefully and 
strictly kept full, as it is believed to be a mystical one. 


Although the Portuguese, in their early voyages 
round the Cape of Good Hope, touched on the coast 
for provisions and water, they do not appear ever to 
have formed any permanent settlement in this neigh- 
bourhood. But the Dutch, a prudent, calculating, and 
considerate people, soon discovered the advantages 
which might be derived from the possession of this 
half-way house to India. Early in the seventeenth 
century they formed a settlement there, which, being 
gradually strengthened and extended, ranked with the 
most important of their colonial establishments. The 
earliest detailed account of this colony was published 
in 1718, by Peter Kolben. His narration was received 
at first as perfectly authentic, but it afterwards fell 
into utter discredit, although it does not appear to 
exhibit many more exaggerations and mistakes than 
those to which a traveller is always liable at the first 
view of a strange country. He saw the colony, be- 
sides, in a state very different from that in which it 
has been viewed by recent travellers ; its limits being 
at that period comparatively narrow, and the tribes, 
which have since been either extirpated or reduced to 




slavery, being then unbroken and independent. This 
may have produced the discrepancy between his reports 
and theirs ; yet it gives a considerable value to his 
narrative, as painting the manners of savage commu- 
nities which are no longer in existence. 

The Hottentots of this region are described by Kol- 
ben as living in kraals, or groups of huts, each group 
consisting of twenty huts, and containing about a hun- 
dred inhabitants. Sometimes the kraals were larger, 
with a population of five hundred. The huts are ranged 
in a circle, in a commodious situation, generally on the 
bank of a river. Their form is oval, from ten to 
fourteen feet in diameter ; but they are too low to ad- 
mit a person to stand upright in them. The walls are 
formed of twigs, and the roof of mats, woven from 
osiers and junk, so close, that neither rain nor wind 
can penetrate. The whole wealth of the Hottentot 
consists in his cattle, and to defend these against wild 
beasts is the continual object of his care. With this 
view, the young animals are inclosed at night within 
the circle of the huts, the older ones being tied to the 
outside, while the lambs are lodged in a large house or 
! shed. During the day, three or four of the people of 
the kraal guard them in turn. The pasture ground is 
i entirely common, and, after having exhausted one spot, 
I the kraal is removed to another. They possess consid- 
erable ingenuity in several trades ; their smiths are par- 
ticularly skilful, and are able to fuse and fashion iron 
in all shapes, while they require no tools, excepting 
istones. They also tan, dress, and sew hides. In sew- 
ing, they use the small bones of birds for needles, and 
the nerves attached to the backbones of animals for 



thread. Mats, strings for their bows and musical in- 
struments, and some articles of pottery, are also manu- 
factured with considerable skill. 

It has been stated that the Hottentots exhibited no 
vestige of religion, but Kolben asserts that they believe 
in a God. They say that he is an excellent man, who 
does no ill to any one, and lives far beyond the moon ; 
but they consider him as placed out of the reach of any 
worship which they could pay to him. When the moon 
is at the full, they make sacrifices to her, accompanied 
with prayers for good weather, with dancing, leaping, 
and violent contortions. They have also a malignant 
divinity, which they represent as small, crooked, and 
ill-natured, whom they endeavour to soften by offer- 
ings. They show no direct signs of a belief in the im- 
mortality of the soul ; yet the honor which they ren- 
der the dead, and their dread of ghosts, indicate some 
lurking belief of it. 

The Hottentots, in Kolben's time, were not entirely 
without government. An hereditary chief, called Kon- 
guer, commanded in war, negotiated peace, and pre- 
sided in the public assemblies. A second officer, also 
hereditary, judged the people in peace, and command- 
ed under the Konguer in war. Both these functiona- 
ries, at their accession, took an oath to attempt nothing 
against the rights of each other, or of the people. The 
Hottentots were then a warlike race ; on the slightest 
injury, they flew to arms. Their wars, like those of 
all savages, were short, tumultuary, and irregular. 
They formed alliances with each other, and seemed 
even to study a sort of balance of power. The Dutch 
were frequently called in by the weaker party ; an 



occurrence which they always succeeded in turning to 
their own advantage. 

Kolben gives many particulars of the natural histo- 
ry of the Cape, though they cannot now be considered 
as of much value. He takes notice of a species of 
sheep, with tails of extraordinary size, composed en- 
tirely of fat, and weighing often as much as twenty 
pounds. He describes, particularly, the elephant, the 
rhinoceros, the leopard, and the buffalo ; but the most 
beautiful animal he saw was the zebra, which he 
knows under no other name than that of the wild 
ass, though he laments that so elegant a quadruped 
should not be honored with a name more worthy of 
his appearance. 

The most entertaining volume of travels in this part 
of Africa is that of M. Vaillant, who made researches 
in the vicinity of the Cape between the years 1780 
and 1785. Few travellers have so well succeeded in 
making their narrative lively and amusing ; in which 
respect Vaillant's book is little inferior to the most 
interesting works of fiction, which, indeed, it has been 
strongly suspected to resemble in other points. The 
French, however, maintain, that the imagination of 
their countryman was exercised, not in materially al- 
tering the truth of facts, but in merely throwing over 
them a coloring and embellishment which may amuse 
and flatter his readers. It is certain that Vaillant made 
important discoveries in the natural history of Southern 
Africa. Besides many interesting birds, he brought 
home to Paris the skin of the giraffe, or camelopar- 
dalis, a very rare animal, whose existence was not 
generally believed at that time. 



South Africa is traversed by chains of vast moun- 
tains, rising one behind another, and comprising very 
extensive tracts, doomed by nature to perpetual sterili- 
ty. The plains between the mountain ridges are most- 
ly covered with a hard, impenetrable clay, sprinkled 
over with sand, and parched by a constant drought. 
Some districts, however, are fertile, and well wooded 
and watered. The only considerable settlement is 
Cape Town, the capital of the colony. Between this 
town and the Table Mountains are many neat country 
houses with gardens and plantations. Most of the Eu- 
ropean and tropical fruits are cultivated with success ; 
and the botanical productions of the Cape district sur- 
pass, perhaps, in variety and beauty, those of any 
other part of the world. The Dutch inhabitants of 
the Cape display the phlegm and apathy of their 
countrymen in Europe, without their persevering in- 
dustry. They devolve all labor on their slaves, and 
spend their time in eating, drinking, and smoking. As 
they carefully avoid every species of bodily exertion, 
their health inevitably suffers, and few of them exceed 
the age of sixty. The ladies, however, do not share 
this phlegmatic character ; they are lively, pretty, and 
good-humored, easy in their manners, and fond of so- 
cial intercourse. 

Travelling in South Africa is performed in large 
wagons, drawn by five or six yoke of oxen. In the 
interior, the Dutch peasant shows more than the usual 
apathy which characterizes his nation. He has no 
idea of what English and Americans call comfort. 
His apartments are almost destitute of furniture ; the 
windows are without glass ; the floors are dirty, and 



swarm with insects. Wine, milk, vegetables, and 
roots, though easily procured, are neglected by him ; 
his sole enjoyment is in the pipe, which he never allows 
to leave his mouth, unless to take his glass of brandy, 
or to eat his meals. These are served up three times 
a day, and consist of mutton, swimming in fat. The 
mistress of the family, in like manner, remains a fix- 
ture in front of her table, on which stands her coffee- 
pot constantly boiling. She and her daughters con- 
tinue seated during the whole day, with their hands 
folded, in the most listless apathy. They have no 
meetings for diversion, fairs, balls, or musical parties. 
The history of one day forms the history of their 
whole life. That such an individual is going to town, 
to church, or to be married, or that the Bushmen have 
stolen some cattle, are the only incidents by which 
life is diversified. 

The Hottentot is described by a recent traveller as 
mild, quiet, timid, perfectly harmless, honest, and faith- 
ful. He is also kind and affectionate, and ready to 
share his last morsel with his companions. But his 
constitutional indolence is a disease which nothing but 
the most extreme terror can overcome. The calls of 
hunger are insufficient, which is the more remarkable, 
as the Hottentots are the greatest gluttons on the face 
of the earth. Mr. Barrow says, " Ten of them ate a 
middling-sized ox in three days. The word with them 
is to eat and sleep." The grease, which forms a thick, 
black covering over their skins, however far from or- 
namental, is believed to be a salutary protection against 
the influence of the sun's rays in so parched a cli- 
mate. When young, they are by no means deficient 



in a good shape, but, as they grow old, both sexes, es- 
pecially the females, become immoderately fat. 

The Hottentots were gradually subdued by the Dutch, 
who encroached, step by step, upon their territory, re- 
ducing them to the condition of serfs, or driving away 
before them the more stubborn tribes. This process 
continued for more than a century, until at last the 
Dutch occupied the whole country as far as the great 
ridge called Nieuweld Bergen and Sneewbergen. This 
ridge, the higher summits of which are about 9,000 
feet above the level of the sea, and are covered with 
snow the greater part of the year, forms the natural 
boundary of the Cape colony, although the political 
limit extends considerably farther. Cape Town was 
founded by the Dutch, in 1650, and, together with 
the colony, continued in their possession till 1795, 
when it was taken by the English. At the peace of 
Amiens it was restored to the Dutch, but was again re- 
duced by the English in 1806, and has ever since re- 
mained in their possession. The Dutch boors, how- 
ever, still occupy a portion of territory to the northeast 
of the colony, beyond the British jurisdiction. 

The Caffres, or CafFrarians, are a pastoral race, 
amounting to 100,000 men, in the eastern part of 
South Africa. Their territory forms the northeastern 
boundary of the settlements at the Cape. The name 
Caffre, indifferently applied to the tribes in this quar- 
ter, is a term of reproach, signifying infidel, and is 
used by the Moors to designate those nations in South 
Africa who would not embrace Mohammedanism. 
Some persons have deduced their origin from the Be- 
douin Arabs, because those people have penetrated into 



every part of Southern Africa, even into the islands ; 
and there are many particulars in their manners and 
habits which strengthen this supposition. Excepting 
the woolly hair, the Caffre exhibits no similarity to the 
Hottentot or the negro race ; for, although their com- 
plexion is nearly black, their features are regular, 
having an Asiatic cast, and their shape is symmetri- 
cal. Unlike the Hottentots, they are remarkably cheer- 
ful, frank, and animated, placing implicit confidence 
in their visiters, and studying every means to entertain 
them. They wear scarcely any clothing, and their 
bodies are tattooed. Their dwellings are rude huts, 
but the climate is so fine that they pass most of their 
time in the open air. They have oxen, cows, horses, 
sheep, and goats, and they cultivate millet, Indian corn, 
pumpkins, and sugar-cane. The men are warlike, but 
generally lead an indolent life. 

In the vicinity of Port Natal there are tribes of yel- 
low men, with long reddish beards and flowing hair, the 
descendants of shipwrecked Europeans. In August, 
1782, the Grosvenor, an English East Indiaman, was 
wrecked on the coast of Natal. Most of the crew 
got safe to shore, but only a few of them were able 
to reach the Dutch colony at the Cape, where they re- 
ported that many of their companions had been left 
alive among the natives. Several expeditions were 
fitted out at different times in search of them. On one 
of these, in 1790, a village was discovered, inhabited by 
a people descended from whites, and among them were 
three aged white women who had been shipwrecked in 
their youth, — of course, long before the loss of the 
Grosvenor, — and whom the yellow chief had after- 



wards taken as his wives. They stated that they were 
sisters, but were so young at the time of the shipwreck, 
that they could not say to what nation they belonged. 
Thev seemed, at first, much pleased by the offer of re- 
storing them to the white people ; but afterwards they 
refused to leave their children and grandchildren, and 
the country in which they had lived so long. It seems 
that thev were treated there as beings of a superior 
race. There can be no doubt that this mixed Eu- 
ropean and African race is now widely extending its 
offspring throughout the country, and their services 
might probably be turned to good account in civilizing 
the native tribes. 


This island has been called the Great Britain of 
Africa. It is situated in the Indian Ocean, and is separ- 
ated from the eastern coast of Africa by the Mozam- 
bique Channel, which varies in breadth from 90 to 
150 leagues. The island is nearly a thousand miles in 
length, and contains more square miles than the king- 
dom of France. It has much mountainous territory, but 
abounds in tracts of very fertile soil, which afford sus- 
tenance to a population of two or three millions. The 
interior is very healthy, but the low, swampy coasts, 
which contain numerous lagoons, and, in certain sea- 
sons, wide sheets of stagnant water, are very insalu- 
brious to Europeans. The inhabitants seem to be- 
long to different races, which have become mixed 
together, and speak only one language, containing a 
great number of Malay words. They vary in color 
from deep black to copper, and there are some tribes 
of negroes with long, straight hair. They have made 
considerable progress in civilization, and in agriculture 
and the arts connected with it they are not inferior to 
the inhabitants of Java and Sumatra. Some of them 
are distinguished for their skill in manufacturing silk 
and cotton dresses, in forging iron, which they apply 



to various purposes, from the blade of a lance down to 
a needle, and in making silver and gold chains, &c., in 
which they are very ingenious. Some of them are fa- 
miliar with letters, and write in the Arabic character. 
In religion, they are pagans or idolaters. 

There is reason to believe that none of the races, 
comprised in the existing population of Madagascar, 
were among its primitive inhabitants. The Vazimba 
the sites of whose ruined villages, like those of the In- 
dian encampments in our own country, may still be 
traced in the interior, and whose graves have been for 
many generations regarded with profound veneration, 
seem to have been one of the earliest tribes. A re- 
membrance of them still lingers in the legends of the 
island ; but all our knowledge respecting them is com- 
prised in the simple statement, that they dwelt in the 
interior, were conquered by strangers, and, as a race, 
have become extinct, being either extirpated by the 
conquerors, or amalgamated with them. Part of the 
present inhabitants are unquestionably of African de- 
scent ; other portions are evidently of that race which 
peoples the Malayan peninsula and the islands of Poly- 
nesia. It is the opinion of some, that the Moors, Per- 
sians, and Arabs have added their contributions to the 
population : if so, this must have taken place before the 
establishment of Islamism, as those parts of their relig- 
ious rites which savor of this doctrine are, according to 
the traditions of the people, of comparatively recent 

The existence of Madagascar was first made known 
to Europeans by Marco Polo. He did not visit the 
island, but related what he had heard concerning it in 



Asia. After this, three centuries elapsed before any 
accurate knowledge of its geographical position and 
extent was obtained. Lorenzo Almeida, the son of 
the first Portuguese viceroy in India, discovered it on 
his voyage to the East in the year 1506. Before this 
time, however, the island had been known to the 
Moors and Arabs, who visited its western shores for 
the purposes of trade. The Portuguese judged it to be 
too important a country to be neglected. They effect- 
ed the circumnavigation of the island in 1508, and 
their ships made a practice of touching here in their 
voyages to India. Shortly afterward, they founded 
a settlement and built a fort near the village of Ho- 
tore, in the province of Anosy, and the country 
furnished an abundant supply of provisions ; but the 
establishment having excited the jealousy of the na- 
tives, the garrison proved insufficient for its defence, 
and the new settlers were all massacred. 

The Portuguese, who had introduced a few Catholic 
priests into the island, had also prevailed upon one of 
the chiefs to send his son to Goa, that he might be 
instructed in the Christian religion. He w r as educated 
under the care of the priests, whose labors were so far 
successful that he was baptized ; but, on his return to 
Madagascar, he assumed the sovereignty, to which he 
had become entitled by his father's death, and relapsed 
into paganism. He reigned some years, and lived on 
friendly terms with the Portuguese, but was at length 
killed by the French, who made a descent upon the 
island. With the destruction of their colony, all hopes 
of converting the natives to Christianity appear to have 
been abandoned by the Portuguese. The French made 



an attempt to establish a colony here in 1665, and sev- 
eral others were made afterwards. These settlements 
never prospered, partly on account of the insalubrity 
of the flat western coast, where they were formed, and 
partly on account of the warlike character of the in- 
habitants. The English made similar attempts, but 
met with no better success. 

One of the earliest minute accounts of this island, 
which have reached us, is contained in the narrative 
of Robert Drury, an English sailor, who was ship- 
wrecked on the coast of Madagascar, in 1701. A large 
portion of the crew and passengers of the ship escaped 
from the wreck, and reached the shore in the province 
of Androy, near the southern extremity of the island ; 
but they were afterwards dispersed, and little is known 
of their fate. Drury, after suffering almost every kind 
of privation and distress, became a domestic slave, 
and, as such, passed from the hands of one proprietor 
to another, sometimes experiencing kindness, but more 
frequently treated in a manner, which, though not re- 
garded as cruel by his masters, must often have embit- 
tered the recollection of his home. The chief who 
ruled over that part of the island where the ship was 
wrecked, having, probably, some real or supposed 
injury to revenge upon the white people, butchered, in 
the most barbarous manner, such of them as fell into 
his hands, Drury alone being permitted to live, for the 
purpose of attending, as a slave, the grandson of the 
chief. Like other domestic slaves, his office, in times 
of peace, was chiefly that of tending his master's cat- 
tle and digging wild yams ; besides which, he render- 
ed himself skilful in the management of bees and 



honey. Whether from these circumstances, or from 
the prevalent notion that he was a person of rank, and 
that white people ought never to be held in bondage, 
he enjoyed many advantages as a slave, and was so 
highly esteemed that the possession of his services was 
often the subject of envy among the chieftains of that 
part of the country. This, however, could not lighten 
the yoke of his captivity, and his constant endeavour 
was to find some means of getting to the sea-shore, 
where he hoped to meet with a vessel in which he 
might escape. 

In one of these attempts, after running away from 
his master, and pursuing his lonely way through the 
wilderness, for many days, amidst almost incredible 
hardships and sufferings, just as he hoped success was 
at hand, he found his course arrested by a broad and 
rapid stream, which he was unable to pass, except by 
swimming. " As I was searching," says he, " for a 
proper place to wade through, or swim over, I spied a 
large alligator. I still walked upon the banks, and, in 
a short time, saw three more. This was a mortifying 
stroke, and almost dispirited me. I went on till I came 
to a shallower place, where I entered the river about 
ten yards, but, seeing an alligator make directly to- 
wards me, I ran directly back. He pursued me until 
I got into very shallow water, and then he turned back 
into the deep, for they will never attack a man near 
the shore. It nettled me to be stopped by a river that 
was scarcely a hundred yards over. At length, I recol- 
lected, that, in the neighbourhood of Bengal, where 
there are the largest alligators in the world, fires are 
often made at the head and stern of the boat, so that 



they pass the rivers in safety. Distress puts a man's 
invention upon the rack. 1 Something,' thought I, 
' like this must be done 1 ; for it was to no purpose to 
stay there, neither could I go back. So, making choice 
of a stick for a firebrand, I cut it into long splinters, 
and waited till it grew dark. Then, after I had bound 
my two fire-sticks to the top of one of my lances, I 
went into the water, and, recommending myself to the 
care of Providence, turned upon my back and swam 
over, with my two lances and hatchet in one hand, and 
my firebrand burning in the other." 

He reached St. Augustine's Bay, where ships were 
accustomed to touch, but there was no sail to be seen 
upon the coast, and Drury was obliged to place him- 
self under the protection of a chief, who required his 
service in a war in which he was then engaged. At 
another time, while he w T as residing at a seaport, on the 
western coast, called Youngoule, an English ship arriv- 
ed there to take in a cargo of slaves, a number of 
which were immediately carried down to the coast to 
be sold. The master whom Drury served at that time 
was collecting slaves for this purpose, and the latter 
made earnest entreaties to be sold with the rest, but 
without effect. The English knew nothing of Drury's 
being in the island, and he endeavoured to inform them 
of his captivity. He took the leaf of a tree and wrote 
upon it these words : u Robert Drury, son of Mr. Dru- 
ry, living at the King's Head, in the Old Jewry, now 
a slave in the island of Madagascar, in the country of 
Youngoule." He gave this to one who was going to 
the sea-side, requesting him to deliver it to the first 
white man whom he met. The native, being ignorant 



of letters, thought one leaf as good as another, and 
took no care to keep the written one safe. When he 
returned, Drury asked him what answer he had brought. 
u None at all," replied he. " I suppose the white man 
did not like it, for he threw the leaf away, though I 
• am sure it was as good as yours, if not better. It is 
true I lost the one you gave me, but then I plucked 
one of the best I could find from a tree." u My 
heart," says Drury, " was ready to break at this disap- 
pointment ; whereupon, I turned from him, and went 
directly into the woods to give vent to my tears." 

After a captivity of upwards of fifteen years, Drury 
obtained his liberty, and returned to England. On 
landing in his native country, he informs us that he 
could not set forward on his journey to London, with- 
out returning God thanks, in the most solemn manner, 
for his safe arrival, and for his deliverance from the 
many dangers which he had escaped, and the miseries 
he had so long endured. Those who have experienced 
suffering should learn to be merciful ; but it is equally 
melancholy and astonishing to behold this man, in less 
than two years afterwards, embarking, as a slave-dealer, 
for Madagascar, and, by his own testimony, using all 
his knowledge of the country in directing the English 
to the places where the wretched captives, whom he 
was dooming to a harder lot than he had suffered, were 
likely to be obtained with the greatest facility. He 
purchased a large number of slaves, whom he disposed 
of in Virginia. Drury's conduct affords a strong evi- 
dence of the depraved feeling existing among his coun- 
trymen at that day. 

From the time that Vasco de Gama opened the pas- 



sage to India by the Cape of Good Hope, numerous 
pirates began to infest the Indian Ocean. They be- 
came, at length, so formidable as to render a general 
effort by the European powers, interested in the India 
trade, indispensably necessary to suppress them. The 
pirates, anticipating the storm about to burst upon their 
heads, formed an establishment, in 1724, at the island 
of St. Mary, on the eastern coast of Madagascar, and 
gained, by their assiduous attentions and valuable im- 
portations, the friendship of the natives, who were ig- 
norant of the means by which the wealth of these men 
was obtained. The pirates, however, were so vigor- 
ously pursued, that they were routed even from this 
secure nest. After this, they settled in different parts 
of Madagascar, and became slave-dealers. 

The most famous of these marauders was Captain 
William Kidd, who became notorious for his piracies 
in both the Old and the New World. He sailed from 
England in the year 1696, with a commission, from 
King William, to " apprehend, seize, and take into 
custody all pirates, freebooters, and sea-rovers, which 
he should meet upon the sea, or upon the coast of any 
country." With his ship, the Adventure, of thirty guns, 
he proceeded to New York, and thence to Madagascar. 
For some time, he cruised about in the neighbourhood 
of the island ; but most of the pirate-ships were pursu- 
ing their prey elsewhere, and while his provisions grew 
short, the hopes of success in his undertaking abated. 
In this state, he began to think of abandoning the ob- 
ject for which he had set out, and finally declared to 
the crew his design of turning pirate. The scheme 
was but too readily adopted by them, and, under the 



command of their unprincipled leader, they commenc- 
ed a course of lawless cruelty and bloodshed, which 
terminated, at last, in the apprehension, trial, and exe- 
cution of Kidd and some of his associates. 

A French pirate, of the name of Misson, in con- 
junction with an Italian named Caraccioli, established a 
sort of republican commonwealth on the northeastern 
coast of Madagascar. Here they were afterwards 
joined by Captain Tew, an Englishman ; and, being all 
men of education and ability superior to those gener- 
ally engaged in the murderous trade of piracy, the 
affairs of their settlement were, for some time, con- 
ducted with considerable prudence, and attended with 
success. They built a fort and a town, and cultivated 
a considerable tract of land. They had even a senate- 
house, in which laws were enacted for the good of the 
commonwealth. From this settlement, which they 
named Libertatia, they sent out their ships on maraud- 
ing expeditions, and, in many instances, were so suc- 
cessful as to add greatly to their wealth and power. 
In the mean time, a traffic was kept up with the na- 
tives, who also assisted them in ship-building and other 
labors. On one occasion, they made prize of a Moor- 
ish vessel, bound for Mecca, with pilgrims, having on 
board a hundred women, who were accompanying 
their friends and relatives on the pilgrimage. These 
the pirates detained, as wives for the colonists. 

Misson was chief magistrate of this singular com- 
munity, with the title of His Supreme Excellence the 
Lord Conservator. Caraccioli was Secretary of State, 
and Tew was Admiral. The term of office was three 
years ; the senate met once a year regularly, and extra 



sessions were held when the Conservator and his coun- 
cil judged it necessary. Laws were regularly enacted, 
registered in the statute-book, and published. They 
had a dock and an arsenal, a large number of cat- 
tle, and lots of land inclosed and held by individuals 
as private property. They were so well fortified, 
that, when a squadron of five Portuguese fifty-gun 
ships attacked the place, they sunk two of them, cap- 
tured another, and compelled the remainder to seek for 
safety in flight. The terror which they inspired in 
these seas was prodigious. In London, it was believed 
that the pirates had a fleet of thirty-two men-of-war, 
and that their leader had taken upon himself the state 
and title of a king. 

The destruction of this settlement arose from an un- 
expected cause. The colonists had lived on the most 
amicable terms with the natives, for a long period, 
and ceased to entertain any fear of enemies from the 
interior. They were, therefore, completely off their 
guard in this quarter, and the natives, incited by some 
unknown motives, taking advantage of this unsuspect- 
ing confidence, made a sudden attack upon them, in 
two bodies, at the dead of night, slaughtering nearly 
the whole of them, without respect to age or sex, be- 
fore they had time to put themselves in a posture of 
defence. Caraccioli was killed, Tew was absent, and 
Misson escaped with forty-five men. Such was the 
end of the colony of Libertatia. 

The slave-trade is so painfully conspicuous in the 
history of Madagascar, as to force itself upon oar no- 
tice at almost every point of recent date. There is 
good reason to believe that domestic slavery has exist- 


ed in the island from time immemorial ; but the inhu- 
man practice of exporting men as slaves was scarcely 
known before the beginning of the last century, and 
appears to have originated with the pirates of St. Mary. 
The natives, it is said, resisted the first attempts that 
were made to induce them to sell their prisoners, hav- 
ing a better moral feeling, on this point, than the 
whites ; but, being deceived by the artifices of the 
pirates, whom they never suspected of treachery, and 
of whose real character and- pursuits they were ignor- 
ant, they became the victims of their perfidy, under 
the impression, that, as the whites were a superior race 
of men, they could not commit an error in following 
their advice. By wars of retaliation, the natives be- 
came mutual scourges, and plunged one another into 
frightful miseries. The slave-trade having commenced 
on the coast, and the enormous profits of it gradually 
expelling all sense of the injustice of the traffic, it soon 
extended into the interior. With the increased de- 
mand for slaves, the supply constantly increased ; if 
wars were not sufficiently productive, stratagem and 
kidnapping were employed. Persons going by a house 
were invited to enter, according to the custom of the 
country ; at the moment of entering, they fell into a 
pit, artfully covered, so as to resemble the solid floor. 
They were then handcuffed, and carried off* to be sold 
as slaves. On one occasion, a party of Europeans, 
landing from a slave-ship, pitched a large tent upon 
the shore, and invited a number of the unsuspecting 
natives to partake of their hospitality beneath its shel- 
ter. About thirty of them were thus collected, when 
the floor fell in, and the whole of them were caught in 



a deep pit, and secured as slaves. The sufferings of 
the unhappy natives were augmented hy the belief, 
which they entertained, for a long time, that the Euro- 
peans were cannibals. " The white men," said they, 
" come here to steal us and our children ; what can 
they want of us, but to eat us ? " 

The slave-trade of Madagascar was abolished in 
1817, by King Radama, who held the sovereignty of 
nearly the whole island. This extraordinary barba- 
rian, who, in energy of character, bore some resem- 
blance to Peter of Russia, made great exertions to 
introduce the arts and civilization of Europe into his 
country. He established a communication with the 
English at the Isle of France. He received and pro- 
tected their missionaries, and promoted the establish- 
ment of schools, the number of which at his death, in 
1828, amounted to more than a hundred, in which 
nearly five thousand children were instructed. Since 
his death, however, the fair prospect of civilizing and 
converting these people has been overclouded. By a 
royal edict of his successor, the public profession of 
Christianity was forbidden in 1S35, and the converts 
have been sold into slavery, with their wives and chil- 
dren. From that time, a most fierce and destructive 
persecution has continued to rage against the native 


The name of Abyssinia became first known in Europe 
through the Portuguese missionaries, who penetrated 
into that country in the beginning of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. The Portuguese continued their search for Pres- 
ter John after they had made their way round the Cape 



of Good Hope. Two missionaries, Covilham and De 
Payva, were sent to the Red Sea for this purpose. 
The latter died there, and Covilham, hearing of the 
Christian empire of Abyssinia, determined upon an 
attempt to visit it. He succeeded in reaching Shoa, 
where the emperor then resided, and was received 
with that favor which novelty usually secures when 
not accompanied by any circumstance to awaken dread 
or suspicion. There was an ancient law of Abyssinia 
by which no stranger was permitted to leave the king- 
dom, and this, though overlooked in many instances, 
was enforced against Covilham. He received gifts, 
however, of lands and possessions, and, being a greater 
man in Abyssinia than in his native country, was not, 
perhaps, very urgent in soliciting permission to depart. 

The court of Abyssinia felt every inclination to gain 
the alliance of the king of Portugal, hoping, from his 
pious zeal, for aid in their continual wars against the 
Moors of Adel. A Portuguese embassy, under Rodri- 
guez de Lima, arrived in Abyssinia in April, 16*20. 
Francisco Alvarez, the secretary to the embassy, wrote 
a narrative of the incidents and observations which oc- 
curred during a residence of six years* in that country. 
His work deserves notice, as containing the first detail- 
ed account of travels in Abyssinia, and as he visited 
the southern provinces of Amhara, Shoa, and Angot, 
which have not been reached by subsequent travellers 
until very recently. Prete J mini (Prester John) isHhe 
name by which he designates the emperor. 

The embassy, after leaving the port of Massuah, on 
the Red Sea, found a range of lofty mountains barring 
their progress into the interior. The roads were rough, 



and the wet season having commenced, they were often 
interrupted by storms of rain and thunder so terrible 
as to compel them to seek shelter among the rocks. 
Formidable torrents were then seen pouring down the 
mountains ; but as soon as these reached the plain, 
they were soaked and dried up, nor could the travellers 
learn that any part of their waters reached the Red 
Sea. They soon entered upon a scene of much deeper 
horrors. Here the woods were so gloomy and terrible 
that " spirits would have been afraid to pass them ! " 
The mules refused to bear a rider, and the camels yell- 
ed " as if they had been possessed by devils." Wild 
beasts roamed about without showing the least alarm at 
the sight of the travellers, and appeared to be the un- 
disputed possessors of this gloomy region. At length 
they arrived, half dead, at the monastery of St. Mi- 
chael, situated on the top of a very steep mountain. 

After some stay here, they proceeded to Dobarwa, 
through a country of the same description as the pre- 
ceding, though, the rains having ceased, the streams 
were now entirely dried up. On their banks, they saw 
handsome trees, of which they knew not the names. 
Apes also appeared in squadrons of two or three hun- 
dred, as large as sheep, and hairy, like lions. They were 
most abundant among the cavities of the mountains. 
Having arrived at Dobarwa, where the prince of the 
district resided, they immediately made their way to 
the palace, never doubting that they would be admit- 
ted, without delay, to an audience ; but they were 
stopped by the intelligence that the prince was asleep, 
and that, while his slumbers continued, they could 
by no means enter. Meantime, they were allowed 



no other accommodation than a house usually appro- 
priated to goats, and so low that they were unable 
to stand upright, while they had nothing to sit or 
lie upon but ox-hides. After a tedious delay, they 
were sent for, but were again long detained in the 
burning heat of the sun before they could obtain ad- 
mission. They found the prince in a room on the 
ground floor, his residence containing no other. He 
did not receive ihem very graciously. Though he 
complained of sore eyes, he rejected their proffered 
medical aid, and told them that he could give them no 
mules, though he would allow them to buy for them- 
selves. On coming out, they were offered a repast of 
half-kneaded barley, and a horn of mead, but they 
chose rather to abstain than accept of such food. The 
prince's mother, however, moved by a hospitable im- 
pulse, sent after them a supply of more savory victuals. 

They left Dobarwa in the middle of June, ignorant 
that this was the worst part of the year for travelling, 
every day being marked by tempests of rain and thun- 
der. They found in their route a still more terrible 
plague, common to all Africa, that of locusts. These 
devouring insects devastate the country more complete- 
ly than a consuming fire. They would entirely depop- 
ulate Abyssinia, but, fortunately, their ravages are usu- 
ally confined to a single province in one year. The 
people, when they see them, " become as dead men, 
and cry out, 8 We are undone, for the locusts are 
come ! ' " The embassy met numbers of men and 
women going to other lands in search of food, which 
they could no longer find in their native district. The 
Romish priests, however, undertook to deliver the 



country from this plague. They collected a number 
of locusts, and made a solemn adjuration, that, within 
three hours, they should depart for the sea, the moun- 
tains, or the land of the Moors, and let the Christians 
alone. The locusts present were then dismissed to 
carry this admonition to their brethren. Accordingly, 
as soon as the intelligence could be conveyed, the 
whole body put themselves in motion, some flying be- 
fore, and some after the missionaries. Such is the tale 
gravely related by the secretary of the Portuguese lega- 
tion. The miracle is very easily explained by the cir- 
cumstance of a violent thunder-storm, which arose soon 
after, and destroyed the locusts in such numbers that 
they were seen piled up in heaps on the banks of the 
river. The party, in a short time, arrived at Axum, 
where they were interested by the sight of its ancient 
church, obelisk, and other ruins. In the kingdom of 
Angot, they were astonished to see spacious churches 
cut out of the solid rock. In one of them, named St. 
Saviour, the body of the church was 200 palms long, 
and 120 broad, with five aisles, and an extensive open 
circuit and entrance, all excavated in this manner. 
Alvarez thinks it necessary here to say, " I take God 
to witness, in whose hands I am, that all which I have 
written is most true." 

They proceeded to the residence of Angoteraz, the 
viceroy of Angot. At a little distance, they met a 
large assemblage of people, coming, as they supposed, 
to welcome them ; but they were soon undeceived by 
a shower of stones, thrown, some by slings, and some 
by the hand, so that " it seemed to rain stones." The 
motive for this uncourteous salutation does not appear, 



for, on reaching the quarters of the viceroy, they were 
received very graciously. He was sitting with his wife, 
two other ladies, and several friends, with four jars of 
excellent mead standing before them. Of this the 
travellers were invited to partake, the ladies being par- 
ticularly urgent. Alvarez had afterwards a long con- 
versation with Angoteraz on religious mysteries, with 
which the chief seemed particularly pleased, and was 
thus induced to invite the party to a feast. Mats were 
laid down for the company to sit on ; sheep-skins were 
then spread on the ground, above which was placed a 
board of white polished wood, without any cloth. Water 
was brought to wash their hands, but no towel to dry 
them. Cakes were then served up, of wheat, barley, 
millet, and teff. Next came a dish of which Alvarez 
hardly dares speak, consisting of M pieces of raw flesh 
and warm blood," a dainty reckoned so exquisite as to 
be reserved solely for the leading men in the country. 
The guests declined such a luxury, though Angoteraz 
feasted upon it with great delight. The drink also 
" walked about with great fury " ; and in this part of 
the entertainment the lady of the house took a most 
active share, though she was concealed from view be- 
hind a curtain. 

After this entertainment, the embassy set out imme- 
diately for the court of the emperor. In their way, 
they passed the celebrated mountain on which the 
younger sons of the royal family are confined. It is 
described as of vast compass, the sides so lofty and 
steep as to resemble a wall with the sky resting on it. 
The party, approaching too near, were apprized of their 
error by a shower of stones, and obliged to make a 



precipitate retreat. They were assured that any one 
who attempted to ascend would have his hands and 
feet cut off, and his eyes put out. The mountain is 
said to be of such vast compass, that fifteen days are 
required to travel round it. On its summit are other 
mountains, with valleys, rivers, and streams. There 
is, particularly, one valley closely guarded by natural 
barriers, in which the members of the blood royal are 
confined. Several attempts had been made by the 
inmates to escape, but they had always proved unsuc- 
cessful. Passing through the districts of Amhara and 
Shoa, they at length reached the camp of the emperor, 
the tents and pavilions of which, seen at a distance, 
seemed to extend over the whole country. 

The emperor's tent of state was covered with silk 
cloth, and had two rows of arches in front. A vast 
multitude, which appeared to exceed 40,000 persons, 
stood on both sides, the chief people being superb- 
ly dressed. To preserve order among this crowd, 
numbers of persons carried whips, which they contin- 
ually lashed in the air, making a noise which rendered 
all hearing impossible. As the embassy came within 
bow-shot of the imperial tent, sixty porters, or macers, 
apparelled in silk, with skins of lions and gold chains, 
came running to meet them. A priest, styled cabeata, 
said to be the second person in the empire, issued from 
the imperial tent, and asked whence they came. They 
answered that they came on an embassy from the cap- 
tain-general of India, by order of the king of Portugal. 
The cabeata w T ent to the emperor, and returned three 
times with the same question, receiving always the 
same answer. At last he invited them to say what 



they desired. The ambassador replied by a compli- 
ment to the emperor, and was told that he was wel- 
come, and might go to his lodging. Nothing was seen 
of the emperor at this interview. As they left the 
court, a band of thieves carried off a number of valua- 
ble articles from their baggage, while a servant, who 
was guarding it, received a wound in the leg. When 
they inquired the mode of obtaining redress for this 
outrage, they were told that these thieves formed a 
regular part of the court establishment, and that offi- 
cers were appointed, who took a proportion of the 
articles stolen for the use of his imperial majesty. It 
was judged prudent, therefore, to abstain from all com- 
plaint. Soon after, a present arrived of three hundred 
wheaten loaves, numerous jars of mead, and ten oxen. 
On the following day, similar presents continued to 
arrive, particularly a calf, dressed whole in paste, and 
stuffed with spices and fruits, in a manner which gave 
extraordinary delight to the palates of the legation. 

Some days after, they were admitted to the presence 
of the emperor, though not to the sight of him, as he 
was screened from view by curtains of silk and gold. 
He held a conversation with the ambassador, and in- 
quired, with evident suspicion, into the motives of his 
journey. At another similar conference, much discus- 
sion arose concerning the respective tenets of the Rom- 
ish and Abyssinian churches. The emperor made a 
firm stand for the marriage of the priesthood, and 
seems to have seriously puzzled the ambassador by 
quoting decrees of councils to that effect, of which the 
latter was obliged to confess his total ignorance. At 
length, on the 19th of November, they were admitted 



to the " real presence." After many ceremonies, they 
were brought in view of the first curtains, which 
shrouded the face of majesty from vulgar eyes. These 
being raised, they discovered other curtains, richer 
still, and, behind them, thrones covered with splendid 
tapestry. Behind the thrones were curtains yet more 
magnificent than the former ones, which, being drawn 
up, they beheld Prester John, seated on a throne six 
steps in height. He wore a crown of gold and silver, 
and held a silver cross in his hand ; his dress was of 
silk and gold. He was not above twenty years of age, 
of low stature, not quite black, but " of the color of 
ruddy apples." He held much conversation with the 
embassy, chiefly upon theological subjects. 

Shortly after this audience, the emperor set out on a 
journey, and the Portuguese accompanied him. They 
came to a large monastery, called Machan Celacer, or 
the Trinity, where they had an opportunity of witness- 
ing the most august ceremonies of the Abyssinian re- 
ligion. The first was baptism, which is here annually 
administered. It was performed in an artificial lake or 
pond, so deep as to take a man up to the neck. Each 
individual descended by steps, till only his head ap- 
peared above the water, when an old priest, who was 
almost frozen to death by standing all night naked in 
the pond, came and put the head thrice under water, 
which constituted the ceremony. The emperor, the 
empress, and the abuna, or patriarch, had a cloth about 
the waist, but all the others, both men and women, 
deemed such a covering superfluous. They witnessed, 
also, other ecclesiastical ceremonies, among which was 
the ordination of clerks, to which rank people of every 



age, even infants, were admitted. Among these can- 
didates for clerical dignity, there was a continued lam- 
entation, " like the crying of so many young kids, 
when their mothers leave them a whole day without 
suck." The principal ceremony here consisted in 
pulling out a tuft of hair from the forehead. 

This embassy, after some years' residence in Abys- 
synia, returned to Portugal, and was succeeded by 
several others, though the Portuguese neither derived 
any commercial advantages from this intercourse, nor 
succeeded in their missionary schemes. Pero Payz, an 
ecclesiastic, who appears to have been a more enlight- 
ened and able man than most of the missionaries, was 
the first, and, Bruce and his companion excepted, the 
only European that penetrated to the fountains of the 
Nile. The following is his account of them. 

" The source of the Nile is situated in the elevated 
part of a valley, which resembles a large plain, sur- 
rounded on every side with ridges of hills. While I 
resided in this kingdom, with the emperor and his 
army, I ascended this place on the 21st of April, 1618, 
and took a diligent survey of every part of it. I saw 
two round fountains, both about four palms in diameter. 
Great was my pleasure in beholding what Cyrus, king 
of the Persians, Cambyses, Alexander the Great, and 
the renowned Julius Csesar, sought eagerly, but in vain, 
to reach. The water is very clear, light, and agreea- 
ble to the taste ; yet these two fountains have no outlet 
in the higher part of the mountain plain, but only at 
the foot. 

" In trying their depth, we thrust into the first a 
lance, which, going down eleven palms, seemed then, 



as it were, to strike against the roots of the neighbour- 
ing trees, entangled together. The second fountain is 
about a stone's throw east of the first ; to measure the 
depth of it, we put down first a lance of twelve palms, 
but found no bottom. We then tied two lances togeth- 
er, and sounded to the depth of twenty palms, but still 
found no bottom. The inhabitants say, that the whole 
mountain is full of water, in proof of which the whole 
plain about the fountain trembles under the foot. They 
afrirm that the water does not run over the edges of 
the fountain, but passes off subterraneously. I was told, 
both by the people and by the emperor himself, that 
though the ground had trembled but little this year on 
account of the drought, yet that, in common seasons, it 
shook and bubbled to such a degree as scarcely to be 
approached without danger. About a league to the 
west, is a village called Geesh, inhabited by heathen, 
who sacrifice cows. They come to the fountain on a 
certain day of the year with a sacrificer, who cuts off 
the head of a cow, and throws it into the abyss with a 
variety of ceremonies. " 

Jerome Lobo, another Portuguese missionary, went 
to Abyssinia in 1623. Several others joined him in the 
enterprise. Great difference of opinion existed as to 
the best route by which they might penetrate into the 
country. Four of them went by the Red Sea, and, 
after being detained for some time in custody by the 
Turks, reached their destination. Two went by the 
way of Zeila, in the Gulf of Aden, where, falling into 
the hands of the king, a zealous Mohammedan, they 
were first thrown into a dungeon, and then beheaded. 
Lobo and his companions determined, upon some 



vague information, to seek a course by the way of Melinda, 
which could only have been suggested by a gross ignorance of 
African geography. He landed at Pate in Melinda, where he 
could learn nothing of Abyssinia, that country being a thousand 
miles distant, but was assured that the country in the interior 
was occupied by the Galla, the most ferocious savages in the 
world, who laid waste the land wherever they went, and were 
the terror of Africa. This dismal intelligence did not deter 
him from attempting to explore the country. He set out fur 
Lubo, a large capital about forty miles distant on the coast, 
where he arrived after encountering enormous hardships. In 
the neighbourhood of this place was encamped a large body of 
Galla, whom Lobo soon had an opportunity of seeing. All the 
accounts of their savage habits were here confirmed. They 
expose all the children born when they are at war, though they 
rear them in peaceable times. They eat raw cows flesh, and 
wear the entrails round their necks as ornaments. They were 
utterly amazed at the sight of white men, and pulled off their 
shoes and stockings to ascertain whether the whole body was of 
the same color. Inquiring the route to Abyssinia, Lobo was told 
that it lay at an immense distance, and that nine barbarous na- 
tions intervened, among whom his life would not be safe for a 

Lobo and his companions made their next attempt by the 
way of Dancali, a small kingdom on the southeast of Abyssinia 
near the Straits of Babelmandel. Here they were more suc- 
cessful, and, after escaping many perils, arrived safely at Fre- 
mona, the principal Catholic monastery in the country. Lobo 
composed a narrative of his travels and residence in Abyssinia, 
in which he gives a pretty minute account of the religion of 
the inhabitants. There seems very little room for the extreme 
zeal, which was felt by the Portuguese, to convert them to 
Catholicism, as the Abyssinian faith appears to differ merely by 
carrying a little farther some of the Catholic superstitions. The 
reverence of the Abyssinians for the Holy Virgin surpasses even 
that of the Romish church, and it is their pride, that no people 
on earth except themselves entertain an adequate sense of the 
dignity of that sacred personage. Their fasts are much stricter, 
as they include milk and butter. The country affording no 



sh, they are reduced to roots and pulse. Churches and mon- 
steries are so numerous, that it is scarcely possible to sing in 
ne of them without being heard by another. This singing, 
ideed, is very audible, for, besides straining their voices to 
le highest pitch, they fall to leaping, dancing, and clapping 
f hands, like the Shaking Quakers, so that it seems rather a 
otous meeting than a religious assembly. Father Lobo, having 
iproached them with this tumultuous worship, they stopped 
is mouth by citing the words of the Psalmist, " Clap your 
ands, all ye nations ! " * 

In regard to the food of the Abyssinians, Lobo entirely con- 
rms the accounts of their passion for raw flesh. " When they 
;ast a friend," says he, " they kill an ox, and set immediately 
quarter of him raw upon the table, for their greatest dainty is 
iw meat newly killed. They eat it with pepper and salt, and 
le gall of the ox serves them for oil and vinegar. Beer and 
lead are their favorite liquors, and are used to excess : there 
annot be a greater offence against good manners than to let 
le guests go away sober." The common people are very 
oorly apparelled, but the rich dress magnificently. They love 
right and glaring colors, and commonly wear silks covered 
rith gold and silver embroidery. 

The most celebrated of all the travellers in Abyssinia is 
ames Bruce, who, having been for some time British consul at 
Algiers, was inspired with the ambition of undertaking discov- 
ries in Africa. His imagination was peculiarly excited by the 
lea of penetrating to the sources of the Nile, which he regard- 
d as yet undiscovered. In 1768, he embarked on the Nile 
t Cairo, and ascended it as far as Syene. From that place he 
rossed the desert to the Red Sea, and reached Gondar, the cap- 
iat of Abyssinia, in February, 1770. He ingratiated him- 
elf with the people of rank of both sexes, by acting, as oc- 
asion required, in the several capacities of physician, courtier, 
nd soldier. It was not, indeed, difficult for one with his natu- 
al and acquired advantages to exhibit a decided superiority 

* Dr. Dwight informs us that he attempted to prove to a Shaker that his 
ancing was unscriptural, by quoting the passage, " Bodily exercise profiteth 
ttle"; to which his antagonist gravely and successfully replied; "It is 
hat little we want." 



over a semi-barbarous people like the Abyssinians ; yet for- 
tune also seems to have befriended him in an extraordinary 
manner in many critical emergencies, from which, accord- 
ing to his own account, he always came off with success and 
credit. On the 14th of November, 1770, he attained the great 
object of his wishes, the sight of the sources of the Nile, which, 
by some strange hallucination, he imagined had never before 
been seen by a European. On this discovery he congratulates 
himself in the most boastful and rapturous terms, as having ac- 
complished what from all antiquity had been thought a task 
scarcely to be performed by a mortal. His inordinate tri- 
umph, on this occasion, betrays either ignorance or want of 
good faith, which cannot but throw suspicion on other parts of 
his narrative. 

On his return to Gondar, he found Abyssinia involved in a 
civil war. He took part with the reigning sovereign, and was 
present in three battles, in which he signalized himself by hie 
valor and military skill. It was with difficulty, that, after a 
residence of two years in the country, he obtained permission to 
leave it. His journey across the desert of Upper Egypt was at- 
tended with great danger. All his camels perished, and he was 
forced to abandon his baggage ; but it was afterwards recovered. 
He returned to England in 1773. Seventeen years afterwards, 
he published a very full account of his travels, which was re- 
ceived by the public with great incredulity, and there was a 
general impression among all his readers, that he had used a 
traveller's license pretty freely. To this day, no person ha? 
had entire confidence in Bruce's relations, although many of 
his most remarkable statements have been confirmed by later 

The Abyssinians are somewhat superior to most of the other 
African^nations. They manufacture carpets, parchment, iron 
and brass ware. In person, they are generally well made, and 
sometimes handsome, with features completely Roman. Those 
of the disirict of Nanea are described as not darker than the 
Spaniards, but the Abyssinians generally are black. Thev must 
not, however, be confounded with the negro tribes, as they 
have neither the nose, lip, nor hair, characteristic of that race. 

AUG. 1958